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QTPA Member Alert |Fire Ants Surveillance Continues in Gladstone (13/12/2013)

Fire Ants Surveillance Continues in Gladstone

Preliminary genetic test results from the fire ant nests confirmed this week in Yarwun, Gladstone have shown the infestation is likely to be a new incursion.

Biosecurity Queensland’s Fire Ant Program Director Mike Ashton said that while confirmatory results were needed, it was likely the ants were not related to either the 2006 Yarwun incursion that was declared eradicated in 2010, or the fire ant population that is currently under eradication in south east Queensland.

“Further genetic testing over the coming week will confirm these preliminary test results, as well as provide a guide as to how long the ants have been at the site and which country the ants originated from,” Mr Ashton said. “This week, Biosecurity Queensland staff surveyed and baited the infested site with an insect growth regulator and this is being followed up by direct injection of contact insecticide.”

Biosecurity Queensland will be boosting its on-ground surveillance and tracing team in the area with 20 new local contract staff who will be trained today. “These staff will conduct surveillance and tracing activities to try and determine the source and extent of the infestation, including any possible spread of ants from the site,” Mr Ashton said. “The new staff will be provided comprehensive training including surveillance techniques, fire ant identification, handling of suspect samples and workplace health and safety.

“Biosecurity Queensland is also providing training to Gladstone Regional Council and Port Authority staff as well as other businesses in the area to assist with surveillance.”

The industrial site remains under quarantine restrictions, which means high risk items such as soil, plant material, or green mulch cannot be moved off the site, and any machinery or equipment moving off the site must be clean and free from soil and other risk material.

Fire ants are 2-6mm in size, coppery-brown with a dark abdomen, are aggressive and inflict a painful sting. They threaten agriculture, our outdoor lifestyle and stop children playing safely in backyards.

They can be found in high risk materials which include:

  *   construction and landscaping materials

  *   soil, sand and pot plants

  *   mulch and green waste

  *   baled hay and straw

  *   machinery and earthmoving equipment.

For more information on fire ants, or to book a site inspection for soil disturbances or movement of high-risk materials, visit<> or call 13 25 23.


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