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Fire ants

Fire ant eradication and suppression treatment

The 2019—20 fire ant treatment season has commenced, with warmer ground temperatures bringing the ants out of their winter hibernation, to begin foraging for food. The treatment season runs annually from September to June.

National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program: Ten year eradication plan 2017/18-2026/27. View large PDF version.

Our 10-year plan to eradicate fire ants from Australia involves an intensive and planned eradication effort over four geographic areas, commencing in Area 1.

Area 1—consists of parts of the Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Ipswich local government areas. Treatment in this area involves multiple broadcast bait treatments carried out over several years, by air and on the ground.

Areas 2, 3 and 4—areas of high infestation. Targeted bait treatment will be carried out to suppress fire ant populations until eradication treatment can be carried out at a later stage.

During the treatment season up to 3 rounds of bait will be applied within the eradication treatment and targeted suppression areas.

For the treatment to work we need access to every property in the treatment area – otherwise re-infestation can occur and new nests can quickly spread.

Treatment methods

There are 3 main methods of distributing the bait. These are:

  • on foot, with a handheld spreader on residential blocks
  • from an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or quad bike, on larger properties
  • by air, using a helicopter on large acreage properties.

If treatment by helicopter is planned for your property, a program officer will contact you to let you know that aerial treatment will take place and to discuss the process.

There is no cost to you when we treat your property.

About the bait

Fire ant bait treatment involves spreading a corn grit mixture of soybean oil infused with an insect growth regulator. These chemicals are commonly found in pet flea treatments and cockroach baits.

It is thinly dispersed across backyards and garden areas as well as parklands and paddocks. The bait treatment is not harmful to humans or animals as it is specifically targeted at fire ants.

The bait treatment is used according to the product labels and permits from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority to ensure safety to humans, animals and the environment.

Officers accessing your property

If you live in a treatment area program officers will need to enter or fly over your property to conduct treatment. Entry onto all properties is essential in eradicating fire ants and officers are authorised to do so under the Biosecurity Act 2014— you may not refuse access. Officers are easily identified by their uniform and identification and will not need to enter your house or buildings.

If there are any issues with officers accessing your property, such as dogs or locked gates, please notify us in advance by calling 13 25 23 or complete a property information form.

If officers cannot gain access to your property, they will leave a notice asking that you make access available within a given timeframe.

If access is refused, officers will exercise their right of entry and may request the assistance of Queensland Police Service.

Review the FAQs for further information.

In this guide:

  1. Top 5 places to check for fire ants
  2. Living and working in fire ant biosecurity zones
  3. Fire ant biosecurity zones suburbs list
  4. Fire ant eradication and suppression treatment
  5. Aerial fire ant treatment
  6. Treatment of fire ant nests
  7. Fire ant treatment frequently asked questions
  8. Training and education about fire ants
  9. Fire ant biology and ecology

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