Fire ants

What's involved in fire ant treatment

Bait treatment program

A new 10-year strategy to eradicate fire ants from Australia will involve an intensive planned broadcast bait treatment program in the South East Queensland areas of Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Ipswich and Gold Coast. In other high risk areas outside the planned treatment area, broadcast bait treatment will be carried out to supress infestation. Eradication treatment will be carried out at a later stage.

In all other areas, we will respond to public reports and destroy infestations as they occur, particularly if public safety is at risk.

The treatment season runs from September 2018 to June 2019. During this period, 2 or 3 rounds of bait is applied. If you live in a treatment area Biosecurity Queensland officers will need to enter 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 so you may not refuse access. Officers are easily identified by their uniform and identification badges and will not need to enter your house or buildings.

If officers can’t gain access to your property, they’ll leave a notice asking that you make access available within a given timeframe.

If there are any issues with 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.

Treatment method

The treatment for fire ants involves spreading corn grit soaked in a mixture of soybean oil and an insect growth regulator. 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.

There are 3 main methods of distributing the bait, which varies depending on the size and accessibility of each property. 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 Biosecurity Queensland officer will contact you to let you know that aerial treatment will take place and to discuss the process. For further information about aerial treatment operations, please read our frequently asked questions.

There’s no cost to you when we treat your property.

Treatment of fire ant nests

Only a qualified Biosecurity Queensland pest management officer should destroy fire ant nests. We do not recommend treating the nest yourself as this often results in the ants evacuating the queen, and the colony moving. Your safety is also at risk as fire ants are very aggressive and swarm when their nest is disturbed.

Fire ant nest treatment involves broadcast baiting, a direct nest injection, or both. To determine the best treatment of your property or work site, we consider public safety, the time of year and location, as these can all affect when and how treatment takes place.

Fire ant treatments specifically target insects and are applied by qualified and licensed Biosecurity Queensland pest management officers. They’re 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.

Fire ants are category one restricted matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and landholders must report suspected sightings of fire ants on their property to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours or face heavy fines.

Further information about treatment of fire ant nests for residentsfarmers and industry.

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. What's involved in fire ant treatment
  5. Fire ant treatment frequently asked questions
  6. Training and education about fire ants
  7. Fire ant biology and ecology

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