Biosecurity Queensland is urging home and business owners to have their properties inspected for fire ants after a colony was found north of Brisbane on the 27th of June 2017.
The department confirmed the detection of the ants in Beerwah, which is outside of the fire ant biosecurity zone.
This was the nearest the invasive species had been found to the Caboolture region, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said.
A member of the public raised the alert which led Biosecurity Queensland to confirm the detection, National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program Director Geoff Kent said.
“Biosecurity Queensland officers and fire ant detection dogs responded quickly and have been on-site investigating and taking ant specimens for identification. The laboratory confirmed the ant species collected are indeed fire ants,” he added.
According to Kent, the officers had detected one fire ant colony at the site, however Biosecurity Queensland would be undergoing surveillance activities in the area to determine if there were any more nests.
“Tracing activities will also be conducted in addition to genetic testing which will assist in determining the source of the infestation,” he said.
The fire ant colony was directly injected with insecticide, destroying it on-site. The surrounding area was also baited with an insect growth regulator to ensure the destruction of all ants in the nest.
The sting of fire ants is extremely painful and has been attributed to over 85 deaths in the United States.
How to Identify Fire Ants:
• They are coppery-brown with a dark abdomen
• They are aggressive, inflicting a painful sting when disturbed
• They vary in size, between 2-6 mm
Fire ant colonies are mounds of loose soil without entry or exit holes. If you see any suspect fire ants or colonies, take a photograph and submit it through here or call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Bartholomew, K. (2017, June 29). Red fire ants found on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for first time – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).