FRONT LINE: Graham Wyeth, Dave Carney and Reg O’Dea meet with Cr Paul Tully near a fire ant infestation off Woogaroo Street.
FRONT LINE: Graham Wyeth, Dave Carney and Reg O’Dea meet with Cr Paul Tully near a fire ant infestation off Woogaroo Street. Claudia Baxter

Fire ants up the ante in Ipswich battle

SMALL in stature but large in destructive capacity, the battle against fire ants is far from over after a major new infestation was discovered at Goodna.

Fifteen fire ant nests have been discovered at the site of a disused open-cut coal mine 100m from the Ipswich Motorway.

The US spends over $5 billion annually on medical treatment of victims, property damage and control of the pest. Now Goodna has another outbreak, 12 years after the South American native ant was first discovered in the area.

Now a landfill site, the nests back onto houses in the Jacaranda Gardens estate off Brisbane Tce and are adjacent to a recently approved retirement complex. Council officers are monitoring the affected area at the western end of Woogaroo St for further outbreaks while Biosecurity Queensland officers are on the case and are treating the infestations.

A plant nursery at Wacol was forced to close after an outbreak was discovered. After earlier good work eradicating the pests, Cr Paul Tully said there was "now a lack of knowledge and a degree of complacency in the community about the dangers of fire ants".

Cr Tully called for an urgent increase in federal and state government funding to stop the spread of fire ants.

"They will eventually cross the border into NSW and reach the Darling Downs with farmers being the big losers. The march of the fire ants will not be halted unless a new major effort starts soon," he said.

"We had a situation in Goodna where people were stuck in their own house and had to run to their car to get into it. The kids couldn't play in the yard because it was covered in ants. They destroy farmland and if they get into people's yards kids can't play and dogs can get bitten and die. They can cause severe allergic reactions to people if they are bitten."

Goodna resident Reg O'Dea said he was concerned that "our standard of living will be great affected" by the ants. Cr Tully invites residents to his electorate office at 18 Queen St, Goodna, where a collection of dead fire ants is on display to help the public identify possible infestations.

Fire ants

  • Two to six mm in size and reddish-brown with a darker abdomen.
  • Aggressive with a painful sting.
  • A notifiable pest under the Plant Protection Act 1989.
  • Gailes, Goodna and Carole Park previous infestation sites.


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