News and Views

Community engagement activities underway in Beerwah

Biosecurity Queensland is continuing with its surveillance and community engagement program after red imported fire ants were detected in Beerwah on Wednesday 28 June 2017.

Biosecurity Queensland’s National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program Director Geoff Kent said the good news was that no further fire ant nests had been found in the area.

“Biosecurity Queensland officers and fire ant odour detection dogs remain in Beerwah to check areas of high risk of infestation within 1 km of the site,” Mr Kent said.

“This surveillance is expected to take around 2-3 weeks to complete.

“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.”

Mr Kent said community engagement activities were also being conducted over the coming weeks to raise awareness of fire ants in the Beerwah area.

“Community engagement officers will be set up in a mobile office at Simpson Street Carpark, Beerwah between 9am – 1pm, Thursday 6 July 2017,” he said.

“Live fire ants will be on display and staff will be available to speak to residents about fire ants and any concerns that they may have.

“Biosecurity Queensland staff, in collaboration with the Sunshine Coast Council will also be at the Queensland Garden Expo on Saturday 8 July 2017.

“Other community engagement activities include:

  • road signage
  • an information briefing for council and key industry personnel
  • mail delivery of fire ant identification information to over 3,000 Beerwah residents, and
  • targeting local schools and community groups to distribute information through their networks.”

Mr Kent said community and industry partnership was a major contributing factor to the success of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication 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,” he said.

Fire ants are one of the world’s most invasive species. If they establish in Queensland they have the potential to devastate our State’s economy, environment and our way of life.

Fire ants vary in size between 2-6mm, coppery-brown with a dark abdomen, are aggressive and inflict a painful sting.

Fire ant nests look like mounds of loose soil with no obvious entry or exit holes.

If you see any suspect ants or nests, please take a photograph and submit via our online report form at www.daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Source: QLD Government

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