They may be small, but fire ants can do a lot of damage
Fire ants are a significant pest because they have the potential to cause serious social, economic, and environmental impacts.
- Fire ants usually move quickly, allowing large numbers to move onto humans before they are detected.
- Stings from fire ants can cause a painful, burning, itching sensation. Multiple stings give a sensation the body is on fire.
- Small pustules may form several hours after stinging occurs and they can become itchy and infected.
- In rare cases fire ant stings can lead to a severe and sometimes fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
- Fire ants have the potential to inhabit most of Australia’s coastal areas as far north as Tropical North Queensland.
- They feed on fauna that nests or feeds on the ground, including insects, spiders, lizards, frogs, birds and mammals. They could displace or eliminate some native species.
- They eat and damage seeds, possibly causing major ecosystem changes over time.
Fire ants have the potential to surpass the combined damage done each year by our worst pests: feral cats, wild dogs, foxes, camels, rabbits and cane toads.
- Fire ant nests can be a serious problem in lawns, parks, sporting fields and other large expanses of greenspace.
- They can damage sensitive electrical equipment.
- They could affect export arrangements to countries free of fire ants.
- They have been known to attack young animals and livestock, stinging around eyes, mouth and nose, leading to blindness and suffocation.
- They can prevent animals from reaching food or water without being seriously stung, leading to starvation and dehydration.
- They can damage and kill some plants by tunnelling through roots and stems.
- Their mounds can destroy equipment, such as irrigation systems and damage machinery during harvesting operations
- They could restrict everyday activities such as picnics and sporting activities as backyards, parks, playgrounds, beaches and sports grounds are unusable.