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on Wednesday the 9th of May I attended a 4 hr RIFA stakeholder meeting presented by the Queensland Agriculture and Fisheries Biosecurity Department, and the following are some of my notes as an update for you. I have requested full PowerPoint presentation and maps to the sent through and when they are available I will forward them on accordingly. This was as a result of the recent announcement of $400 million to be spent on Fire Ant Eradication  in Queensland. We need to be careful that the government doesn’t step up compliance and add cost to the turf producer. It is therefore important that you are diligent in inspecting properties.

  • RIFA is considered a super pest number 1 international.
  • It came out of Brazil and is now in 9 countries throughout the world most of those our trading partners which means imports/containers on which they hitch a ride.
  • In identifying a nest will more than likely be in disturbed or cleared land and forest and is selected by the Queen whilst in flight.
  • They can fly up to 5K.
  • The nest underground could be 30 m in diameter the Queen is usually around 60 mm below ground.
  • They can relocate via rafting in floods and when rafting they become extremely protective and aggressive.
  • They don’t like salt water.
  • Don’t like wet areas.
  • There has been 80 deaths from RIFA USA.
  • With over $184 billion spent in the USA on schools, sporting arenas and open space alone which was highlighted is targeted area safety especially with young children.
  • Damage caused the United States has amounted to over $508 million to infrastructure in particular electrical power boards on farm.
  • Australia is still the only one that is continuing to fight RIFA is all others have given up.
  • The Department is changing its thinking to working heavily on one of 5 areas throughout the nominated areas to control RIFA at a time and assisting/watching in the other 4.
  • As a result; to think we can eradicate this pest is absolutely pie in the sky thinking and containment is the best we can do. To do better will be highly expensive and prohibitive.
  • As turf producers It is important to undertake regular inspections of your property become “EYES ON GROUND” the Department of Primary Industries will support you in this matter if needed.
  • The Queensland government is placing a bigger focus on compliance.
  • I was asked for my opinion and I advised that we are all in this together but it is important that the government is honest in its approach and if there is a problem tell us so we can assist. It is no good saying we have eradicated fire ants when in fact it is continuing to grow. We have a problem tell us we have a problem but also provide us the tools for communication and methodology to contain or kill any fire ants identified on the property. None of us want to have our property close down due to Fire Ants and we will assist where possible.

When I receive the additional information I will pass that on accordingly.


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