Brisbane Airport – closing in on fire ants

News release | 13-Dec-2017

A last surveillance sweep of the Brisbane Airport and surrounds is underway to confirm there is no further trace of fire ants in the area.

Biosecurity Queensland’s National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program Director Geoff Kent said surveillance teams would conduct a final check as part of the last stage of the response, following the detection of fire ants in 2015.

“Every resident in suburbs adjacent to the Brisbane Airport is urged to have a close look around their properties, local parks and playgrounds to see if they can find any fire ants,” Mr Kent said.

“It’s as simple as having a quick walk around their yard, then contacting Biosecurity Queensland to let us know if they did or didn’t find any fire ants.

“The program’s highly trained odour detection dogs will be helping to complete the final checks in the area.

“The dogs’ noses are highly sensitive and enhance our surveillance activities by sniffing out any ants that may be hiding out of sight.

“Our sniffer dogs are the final line of defence, giving us confidence that all known fire ant colonies have been destroyed.”

Mr Kent said the initial infestation of three fire ants nests at Brisbane Airport was reported in 2015 by a vigilant member of the public who had previously completed fire ant awareness training.

“This action highlights the effectiveness of the program’s community engagement activities and reinforces the valuable investment in creating public awareness to achieve eradication,” Mr Kent said.

“The nests were treated at the time by direct nest injection and the immediate vicinity bait treated with an insect growth regulator.

“Genetic testing revealed that this new incursion of fire ants as they were not related to the current or previous populations in Queensland.

“The fire ants were most likely to have come from Florida, in the United States.

“Following the initial detection at the Brisbane Airport in 2015, no further fire ants have been found as part of the program’s surveillance efforts over the last two years.”

For more information on the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program or to report suspect ants visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call 13 25 23.

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