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Turf QLD Industry Alert |Fire ant update 7 July 2017

Fire ant update 7 July 2017




Fire ant program activities well underway in Beerwah

Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed the detection of red imported fire ants in Beerwah on Wednesday 28 June 2017, which is outside the fire ant biosecurity zones.

A member of the public, who had been trained in fire ant awareness, reported the sighting to Biosecurity Queensland and should be praised for their vigilance.

Biosecurity Queensland’s National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program (the Program) officers and fire ant detection dogs responded quickly, with fire ants being confirmed and the one nest destroyed within 24 hours.

Program officers destroyed the nest by direct nest injection using contact insecticide, and baited the area around the nest with an insect growth regulator.

Fire ant odour detection dogs commenced on-the-ground surveillance on Wednesday 28 June 2017.

A Program field team was deployed on Monday 3 July 2017 to check areas at high risk of infestation within 1 km of the site. Program officers will also inspect areas outside of the 1 km surveillance zone that have an increased risk of being infested due to habitat type or land use activities.

Surveillance is expected to take around 2-3 weeks to complete.

The good news is that to date, no further fire ant nests have been found in the area.

Community engagement activities are being conducted over the coming weeks to raise awareness of fire ants in the Beerwah area. The community engagement activities include:

  • stationing the department’s mobile office unit in community hubs with a live fire ant display, and staff present to answer any questions from residents about fire ants
  • an information briefing and training for local council and key industry personnel
  • attendance at the Nambour Garden Expo on Saturday 8 July with live ants on display
  • mail delivery of fire ant identification information to nearby residents
  • signage on major roads
  • liaison with local schools and community groups to distribute information through their networks.

The original ant specimens taken from the site underwent genetic testing and it has been determined the nest is related to the Brisbane based colonies. It is unknown at this stage how the fire ant nest arrived in Beerwah, however tracing investigations are continuing which may indicate the possible source of the infestation.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, individuals and organisations whose activities deal with fire ant carriers such as soil, turf, mulch, hay, potted plants and animal manure, have a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable steps to prevent the risk of spreading fire ants. The GBO is applicable to all Queenslanders.

Beerwah is currently outside of our fire ant biosecurity zones. Fire ants detected on properties outside the zones are managed on a case by case basis.

The community should not be alarmed by seeing Program officers and fire ant odour detection dogs conducting surveillance in their streets.

Community and industry partnership is a major contributing factor to the success of the Program. Everyone knows their own property best, so it is essential that residents and businesses check for fire ants and report suspect sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.

For more on fire ants or to report suspect ants, visit or call 13 25 23.


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