ANY fire ant that crosses Ipswich resident Evan Cordingley’s path is one step closer to extinction.
As one of the city’s only volunteer Red Fire Ant park rangers, the Flinders View resident works hard to ensure the imported pests don’t grow in number.
While the fire ant population has decreased in recent years, Mr Cordingley said it was important Ipswich residents remained vigilant and kept an eye out for the imported pests.
He recently erected several signs around the city to help keep the fire ant message firmly in people’s memory.
“They’ve been out of the media for a few years now, but it’s important people don’t become complacent to the threat of fire ants,” he said.
“Not only are their bites extremely painful and potentially fatal for humans, but they can kill chicks, birds, and even small calves.
“Even with vegetation they can eat seeds planted into the ground and, given the right conditions, can breed quite quickly.
“It’s important people don’t move soil from suburb to suburb or take things like pot plants interstate to stop fire ants spreading.”
The fire ant, a native of South America, was discovered in Brisbane in February 2001.
The largest outbreak in the state occurred around the Wacol/Darra region before spreading into Ipswich and outer suburbs such as Amberley and Purga.
Fire ant populations have decreased in the Ipswich region following successful baiting programs by the Department of Primary Industries.
But with the pests not completely eradicated, Mr Cordingley erected warning signs in Flinders View, East Ipswich, Brassall and West Ipswich.
“They might be down in numbers, but if we do nothing about it that could easily change,” he said.
“Anyone who spots or suspects they have seen fire ants should call the Department of Primary Industries immediately on 13 25 23.”
FIRE ANT ID
Small, 2mm to 6mm
Reddish brown colour with a black abdomen
Aggressive, swarm when disturbed
Stings form pustules
Nests are normally dome-shaped with no visible entry hole