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.
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.