PROTECTING PROPERTY: Biosecurity Queensland employees demonstrate to primary producers how a fire ant nest is destroyed in Warrill View.
PROTECTING PROPERTY: Biosecurity Queensland employees demonstrate to primary producers how a fire ant nest is destroyed in Warrill View. Rob Williams

Fiery pests cop a blast as farmers learn more

THE fire ant threat has been a constant concern for authorities since the first of the feisty South American critters arrived more than a decade ago.

Although Biosecurity Queensland believes it has kept a lid on the population, nests are still popping up all over the Ipswich district, requiring vigilant eyes both on the ground and high in the sky.

Farmers living on the fringes of Ipswich are not immune to the threat, with four nests recently identified in Warrill View.

Biosecurity Queensland scientist Dr Ross Wylie invited a few dozen primary producers to the area recently to show them firsthand how a fire ant nest is located and then destroyed.

The brief education session by the side of Old Rosevale Rd also gave Dr Wylie the chance to provide residents with some detailed information about how fire ants multiply and spread. Fire ant nests can look inconspicuous at first, but inside hordes of angry little stinging soldiers are just waiting to pounce on anything that disturbs them.

"They are very much attracted to disturbed land - any new industrial or housing estates are where we find 70% of new nests," he said.

"In these areas, you won't find as many natural predators, and it is much easier to dig.

"In rural areas, they go for cultivations and road ways."

Hay farmers were advised that old bales could attract and spread fire ants long distances.

Harrisville farmer Elwyn Pfeffer said he found the session beneficial.

"Before today I wouldn't have known exactly what to look for," Mr Pfeffer said.

"They are certainly not the type of thing you want to allow to get out of control on your property - I have seen what they have done in other areas."



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