Waging war in the west on fire ants

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is calling on residents in the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and parts of Ipswich to be on the lookout for any remaining fire ants after three years of intensive treatment.

Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said all signs were pointing to success.

“Residents are telling us, ‘there used to be ants, now there are none’,” he said.

“We now need everyone in the area to be our eyes on the ground to help confirm this success.

“Get out, explore your property and let us know immediately if you find any suspect ants or nests. You can report suspect ants at daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or by calling 13 25 23.

“Our field and dog teams will also be out evaluating the treatment, knocking on doors and looking for any signs of the super pest.

“If these checks find little or no sign of fire ants, we’ll move our eradication activities towards Ipswich come September — in line with the program’s west to east 10-year Eradication Plan strategy.

“This will bring relief to residents in areas such as Willowbank, Purga, Rosewood and Lowood.

“Treatment activities will continue in suburbs that border the new eradication area to ensure fire ants do not fly back in.

“If the program receives the results it is expecting, the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and parts of Ipswich in the current eradication area will move to eradication clearance.

“This means replacing the aerial and ground treatments used in the first three years, with more targeted human, aerial and odour detection dog surveillance and spot treatment, if required.”

Recent changes to the fire ant biosecurity zones at the end of May will further protect the area from re-infestation.

Clearing the area of fire ants completely will still take several years of ‘mopping up’ the highly aggressive and invasive pest, until no more are found. Once fire ants are cleared, freedom can be declared in that area.

Mr Dudgeon said eradicating fire ants was no easy feat, but Australia was the closest any country had come to success.

Contact: National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program

Mobile: 0459 855 046