News and Views

Fitzgibbon residents urged to be on the lookout for fire ants

Biosecurity Queensland has stepped up its community engagement program in Fitzgibbon, in Brisbane’s north eastern suburbs to ensure any other red imported fire ant nests are detected and destroyed.

Biosecurity Queensland’s National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program Director, Geoff Kent said fire ant nests have been detected and destroyed at three locations in Fitzgibbon since July 2017.

“We are urging residents and business operators in and around Fitzgibbon to check their properties and work sites for fire ants and report any suspect sightings to Biosecurity Queensland,” Mr Kent said.

“Community engagement officers will be at the Aspley Hypermarket (in between the food court and the entrance to Woolworths), 59 Albany Creek Road, Aspley between 10am – 4pm, Friday 1 September 2017 to speak to residents about fire ants and about any concerns that they may have.

“There will be live fire ants on display where residents can have an opportunity to learn more about the pest and what to look out for.

“The program has also commenced a series of other communication activities which includes flyers which have been mailed to residents and social media advertising.”

Mr Kent said the initial fire ant detection, was the result of a report by a Brisbane City Council employee in July 2017 on Telegraph Road. Subsequent surveillance activities by Biosecurity Queensland officers found a second detection in early August 2017.

“A report by Queensland Rail staff led to the confirmation of a third detection of fire ants,” Mr Kent said.

“All nests have been destroyed by direct nest injection using insecticide and also bait treated in the immediate area.

“Biosecurity Queensland is continuing with its surveillance out to 1 km from the initial nest site and is also inspecting high risk areas outside of the 1 km zone such as parks, ovals, and other outdoor spaces.

“It is unknown at this stage how the fire ant nests arrived in Fitzgibbon, however tracing investigations are continuing which may indicate the possible source of the infestation.”

Mr Kent thanked the Brisbane City Council and Queensland Rail employees for their quick thinking by reporting the fire ant detections immediately to Biosecurity Queensland.

“Industry, council and the local community are our eyes on the ground and are invaluable to eradicating fire ants from Australia,” he said.

“Everyone knows their own property best, so it is essential that residents and businesses in Fitzgibbon and surrounding suburbs check for fire ants and report suspect sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.”

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 DAF

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