Fire ants

Fire ant eradication treatment

The 2020—21 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.

After 3 years of intensive treatment in the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and parts of Ipswich, eradication activities will target a new area this season.

Treatment areas include greater Ipswich and western Logan, while new parts of Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim will also be treated.

Treatment activities will include both ground and aerial treatment to help combat the super pest. Several rounds of bait will be applied to all properties the eradication treatment area.

There may be some cross-over with some suburbs which have previously received treatment — this strategy is to protect the previous and new eradication areas from new fire ant queens flying into treated areas.

The first eradication area in Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and parts of Ipswich will move to eradication clearance. This means replacing broad scale treatment used in the first three years, with targeted surveillance and spot treatment, if required.

The primary role of the program is eradication. Residents in areas not subject to eradication treatment can treat fire ants themselves. In fact, the Biosecurity Act 2014 which came into effect in 2016 makes all landholders responsible for reporting and treating fire ants on their property.

Eradication 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. The officer explain the treatment process and discuss any concerns you may have. Alternatively, please review the frequently asked questions.

For the treatment to work we need access to every property in the treatment area — otherwise reinfestation can occur.

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

About the bait

Fire ant bait is made up of corn grit soaked in soybean oil and infused with either an insect growth regulator (IGR) or fast-acting insecticide and is thinly distributed across backyards and garden areas as well as parklands and paddocks. The program uses a range of baits, dependent on the treatment area, nest type and location.

All products are safe to humans and most animals when used by the program according to the conditions on the relevant product labels and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

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. In addition, helicopters distributing bait may also fly over your property. Treatment of all properties is essential in eradicating fire ants and officers are authorised to enter onto your property under the Biosecurity Act 2014— you may not refuse access. However, officers will work with you to find a mutually convenient time to treat. 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 in fire ant biosecurity zones
  3. Fire ant biosecurity zones suburbs list
  4. Fire ant eradication treatment
  5. Aerial fire ant treatment
  6. Treatment of fire ants by the program
  7. Treatment of fire ants at home
  8. Fire ant treatment frequently asked questions
  9. Training and education about fire ants
  10. Fire ant biology and ecology

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