Whilst there is currently no Fire Ant Biosecurity Zones in the north western suburbs it is still important that residents are aware of what to look out for. It was only a couple of years ago that there was a detection of fire ants at Bridgeman Downs.
The red imported fire ants were found by a vigilant Brisbane City Council worker and confirmed on January 5.
Biosecurity Queensland officers destroyed the nest and baited the area to ensure all ants in the colony were destroyed.
Biosecurity Queensland urged all residents and business operators in Bridgeman Downs, Albany Creek, Carseldine, Aspley, McDowall, Brendale, Bracken Ridge, Fitzgibbon, Zillmere, Chermside, Chermside West, Stafford Heights, Everton Park, Everton Hills, Bunya and Eatons Hill to check their properties, gardens and work sites, and report any suspicious looking ants.
Fire ant nests look like mounds of loose soil with no visible entry or exit holes.
Labor MP for Aspley Bart Mellish said fire ants could be identified by their coppery-brown colour and darker-coloured abdomen.
“While small, 2—6mm in size, their sting is incredibly painful and in rare cases can lead to anaphylactic shock and death,” Mr Mellish said.
“Fire ants are one of the worst invasive species to reach Australia’s shores and can ruin our lifestyle, restricting everyday activities such as barbecues, picnics and sporting events.
“Australia is the closest any country has come to eradicating fire ants, but we still have a lot of work to do to beat this serious invasive pest.”
Places fire ants are likely to be found are in and around logs and rocks, gardening materials such as pot plants, lawns, garden beds, taps and utility pits.
Identifying fire ants
Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are quite small (2-6mm) and come in an unusual variety of sizes within one nest. Their heads and bodies are coppery-brown and their abdomens are darker. They are aggressive, particularly near the nest, and can inflict painful stings.
It is vital that you are able to identify fire ants on your property. Watch the video for identification help.
Fire ant nests
Fire ant nests have no obvious entry or exit holes.
Nests often appear as dome-shaped mounds, but these mounds are not always easily identifiable. They can be up to 40cm high, but may also be flat and look like a small patch of disturbed soil. They are usually found in open areas such as lawns and pastures, and along roadsides and unused cropland.
Nests can also be found next to or under other objects on the ground, such as timber, logs, rocks, pavers or bricks. Look near pots or any areas of disturbed ground as well as:
- in pot plants on the ground
- in stores of topsoil, mulch and potting mixes
- under landscape materials (e.g. logs, stones)
- under timber or pallets on the ground
- adjacent to buildings and other structures
- in untidy or overgrown areas
- near areas of permanent water (e.g. the banks of dams, rivers, ponds, aquaculture containers)
- tufts of grass in open areas, where the soil is built up around the tufts.
Moving materials in Queensland
Anyone who buys or sells materials that may carry fire ants is legally required to follow the procedures outlined in the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 before moving it offsite.
These procedures help reduce your risk of spreading fire ants and ensure you meet your general biosecurity obligation.
You may need to obtain a biosecurity instrument permit if you are unable to follow the procedures or would like us to consider another risk mitigation method. .
Find out if you need a permit to move materials by checking our:
If you are worried about possible Fire Ants visit daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call 13 25 23.
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