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Alert youngster saves school from fire ants

TWO OF A KIND: Springfield Central State School Year 2 student Bailey Brooke with Aka the Biosecurity Queensland labrador.
TWO OF A KIND: Springfield Central State School Year 2 student Bailey Brooke with Aka the Biosecurity Queensland labrador. Sarah Harvey

Reader poll

Have you ever seen fire ants in your neighbourhood?

This poll ended on 07 March 2013.

Yes - 10%

No - 85%

Saw something that looked like them but didn't worry about it - 5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

THEY say education is the key to prevention and little Bailey Brooke proved that in a big way at Springfield Central State School.

Seven-year-old Bailey knew straight away the ants her friend almost stepped on in the playground could be fire ants.

"There were a lot of ants coming out. I wasn't sure if they were fire ants, but they did have red on them," Bailey said.

The Year 2 student wasted

no time in letting her principal, Angela Gooley, know what

she saw.

"Bailey came to me and said: 'Mrs Gooley, I've just found an ant's nest and I think they could be fire ants," Ms Gooley said.

Fearing they were fire ants, she declared the area out of bounds until the ants were identified.

"We rang Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) and they came straight away and also found a few other nests close by," she said.

Last year the school was one of the first to host BQ's new fire ant education show called Aka the Fire Ant Tracker.

"For someone of Bailey's age who attended the show in August last year to identify almost six months later is pretty good for us, so it's something we'll do again in the future," Ms Gooley said.

BQ's Craig Jennings said thanks to the school quick action no one was bitten by the ants.

The Aka school show features the world's first dog trained to sniff out fire ants.

"My favourite bit was when Aka spotted the ants and knew what they were," Bailey said. Principal Gooley said: "We're calling Bailey our Super Ant Finder."

See biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

Fire ants

They can be found in or on high-risk materials including:

Construction and landscaping materials.

Soil, sand and pot plants.

Mulch and green waste.

Baled hay and stray.

Earthmoving equipment.

Topics:  fire ants, springfield central state school


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