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Turf Queensland was invited to a National Programme Steering Committee meeting held on Wednesday the 9th of May 2018 the following information was provided and they have sent out the notes which are presented here for Turf Queensland members information.

  • Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) are considered a “Super Pest” amongst the 15,000 species of ants worldwide.
  • There are 40 species of Tramp Ants of which Fire Ant is one.
  • Origins are from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
  • Fire Ants are found in 9 countries across the globe including Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, USA, Mexico, Japan, Guyana and of course Australia
  • The Queen can live for 5 to 7 years in lay 1000 eggs per day.
  • The workers live 2 to 6 months and a colony size is up to 250,000 workers.
  • Reproductives can fly or be transported with the 1st reproductive flight as little as 6 months after the colony is founded.
  • The Queen selects the landing site by identifying disturbed or cleared land either residential or commercial development, major earthworks on road verges.
  • Golf courses, sports fields and open space Parklands, turf farms, ploughed land, grazing pastures soil and mulch piles targeted areas.
  • Nest structure is one third aboveground two thirds belowground.
  • Fire Ants are successful as there are 2 social forms:

a)      Monogyne that is spread by flight and wind.

b)      Polygyne is spread by the Buddy system or human assistance and transport.

  • They are champion rafters wet flooded situations and can relocate colonies quickly on land.
  • More than 50 agricultural, horticultural and tree crops have been affected in the United States.
  • NB: In the United States a 13-year-old boy died after a fire ant with him during a football game.
  • The annual cost to Australia 6,000,000 ha of Broadacre crops fruits and nuts and vegetables is estimated to exceed A$331 million.
  • It is estimated in Australia 7 million people be done and 71,000 may require medical attention as things each year at a cost borne by households at A$114 million.
  • It has a huge social effect as people will be cautious about going to gardens, public parks, creeks and lakes, schools, residential care, sports fields, golf courses and beaches to name a few.
  • If you go camping or just walking in the park or on the beach at night for example, you may not know the fire ants are there.
  • Fire Ants affect of wildlife and reduces biodiversity of native plants and animals can kill reptiles, mammals and ground nesting birds primarily by destroying the eggs and the young.
  • Southeast Queensland research has concluded that fire ants may cause population declines in 45% of birds, 38% of mammals, 69% of reptiles and 95% of amphibians.
  • Fire Ants develop nests in electrical power boards, found around tombstones and of course disturbed land. it is estimated the cost to electrical and telecommunication companies at A$508 million per annum.
  • Currently Fire Ants have moved to an area 30 km east of Toowoomba and 35 km to the north of the  NSW border. They are mainly West and South of Brisbane river.


Fire Ants are not just another invasive, it is a “Super Pest” whose impacts, if unchecked, will surpass the combined effects of many of the pests we currently regard as Australia’s worst invasive animals such as rabbits, boxes, feral pigs, camels, wild dogs, feral cats, and cane toads for example. We must not underestimate the Fire Ant smarter than you think all efforts to eradicate the Fire Ants have not been successful with control now the main target. Biosecurity Queensland and the Department of Primary Industries are asking all related industries to be the eyes and ears on the ground.

The plan to attack zone by zone the 1st area being area 5 in the West towards the Lockyer Valley is the 1st priority zone. They will then move after completing the appropriate programs to the next priority area and so on until they are all covered. It is believe this staged approach is a better program than the knee-jerk all over the Fire Ant areas. This won’t stop individual inspections occurring.

What Is Now Needed:

an action focused community is crucial to eradication success by a security Queensland is asking for related industries to be:

  • Be their eyes on the ground and reports of suspected ants.
  • Raising awareness to change mindsets to achieve;
    • Collaborative effort.
    • Voluntary compliance.
  • Supported by program responsiveness and pragmatism.
  • A stakeholder reference group (that Turf Queensland has been invited on to) will be formed to represent community or businesses in good faith.
  • Working directly with the national programme.
  • General representation of the wider community and commerce.
  • Act as a point of information sharing.
  • Maximum of 10 members with quarterly meetings.


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