Top 5 spots to check for fire ants

What to look for

Nests

Look out for nests which can be mounds or loose sifted soil with no obvious entry or exit hole.

Ants

Fire ants come in a variety of sizes between 2 to 6mm, are copper brown in colour with a darker abdomen.

Where to look 

Residential properties

  1. Lawns
    Fire ants don't like too much shade, so open grassy areas in the sun are very appealing. However nests can be difficult to spot in long grass.
  2. Footpaths
    Fire ants are drawn to open, warm areas, particularly footpaths and driveways.
  3. Garden beds
    As they are drawn to disturbed soil, fire ants are often found in or around garden beds, particularly if recent planting has taken place and there's not too much shade.
  4. Taps
    Fire ants are often found near water sources such as taps, sprinklers and pools of water.
  5. Utility pits
    Fire ants construct an underground network of tunnels from which they forage and can nest in cavities or voids in the ground. Utility pits for water, gas or telephone, for example, are sometimes occupied by fire ants.

Rural properties

  1. Dams and irrigation lines
    Fire ants like to nest near water sources, particularly around the edge of dam and irrigation lines. Look for a mound (especially in Winter), or any soil disturbance that could potentially be a nest or foraging tunnel.
  2. Edges of cultivated land
    Fire ants that establish in cropped areas often migrate to the headlands or edges of the crop to escape mechanical soil tillage which may disrupt their nest.
  3. Cropland post-harvest
    Fire ants deliberately choose open, disturbed land to establish nests in, and are attracted to any land that has experienced recent disturbance.
  4. Fence lines
    Fire ant nests are often found under fence lines or alongside fence posts where there is likely to be less disruption by tillage or mowing.
  5. Piles of organic matter
    Fire ants are particularly attracted to piles of organic matter such as mulch, compost, animal manure, poultry litter, hay or fodder from which they use for food or shelter.

Last updated 18 March 2015