A close up of a Red imported fire ant, after two nests were detected in Mount Tarampa.
A close up of a Red imported fire ant, after two nests were detected in Mount Tarampa.

Fire ant nests detected on property 1km from baiting zone

DESPITE three years of fire ant baiting in the Lockyer Valley, two nests have been detected at its border.

Biosecurity officers have destroyed two nests at a rural property in Mount Tarampa, via direct nest injection.

The nests were found outside the baiting zone, which incorporates the Lockyer Valley and parts of the Somerset and Ipswich council areas.

Graeme Dudgon, general manager of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program, said since the nests were found, staff and landholders had searching the area for more.

The red imported fire ants pose a huge biosecurity threat. Photo Contributed
The red imported fire ants pose a huge biosecurity threat. Photo Contributed

He said the site where the nests were found was about 1km north of the treatment area.

“It looks like they were an isolated flight of ants outside the area we were treating,” he said.

“We’ve looked out to half a kilometre from the nests in every direction, and we will now move the search out to 2km from the nests.”

He described the baiting program as a military-scale exercise, with 160,000 hectares treated in the past three years.

“The major south east Queensland outbreak was first found in Richlands, in Brisbane, in 2001,” Mr Dudgon said.

Its likely the fire ants hitched a ride on shipping containers, and weren’t detected at the port.

“Unfortunately, they had probably been here about 10 years before that. If they’ve been here for 10 years, they’ve had a really good opportunity to get established.”

The first positive case of fire ants in the Somerset Regional Council area was confirmed in Lowood, in August 2017, and subsequent positive detections have been made since.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was vital everyone kept and eye out for fire ants and reported anything unusual.

“We can’t become complacent,” he said.

“I encourage all residents to check their paddocks and back yards regularly and report anything suspicious to Biosecurity so we can work together on eradicating fire ants.”

To report fire ant sightings, call 13 25 23.



Read everything for just $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Premium Content Read everything for just $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Deal gives you access to local, regional and metro News sites

Drought: an insidious and ongoing threat to Australia

Premium Content Drought: an insidious and ongoing threat to Australia

Local university expert says droughts should remain a top priority for...

Man in critical condition after home goes up in flames

Premium Content Man in critical condition after home goes up in flames

A man is in a critical condition after a fire in Bundamba