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About the National Fire Ant Eradication Program

Following the discovery of fire ants in South East Queensland in 2001 a nationally cost-shared effort commenced to eradicate them.

fire ant sting on mans arm

Following the discovery of fire ants in South East Queensland in 2001 a nationally cost-shared effort commenced to eradicate them.

The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is Australia’s largest biosecurity eradication initiative.

The program is funded by all Australian states and territories, as well as the Federal Government.

Guided by an independently chaired National Steering Committee, the program is tasked with eradicating fire ants from Australia in partnership with the community.

fire ants on 10 cent piece

As the combat state, the Queensland Government oversees the delivery of the national program which is delivered through Biosecurity Queensland.


Australia is leading the way

Australia is considered a world leader in fire ant eradication having eradicated six incursions to date.

Modelling has shown that without the program’s efforts fire ants would have now spread extensively in Australia, including west to Longreach, north to Bowen and south to Canberra. If left uncontrolled, the financial impact of fire ants on Australia is estimated to be many billions of dollars each year.


Eradication strategy

Our strategy for eradicating fire ants uses a staged, rolling treatment regime. Fire ant treatment is currently concentrated on the western side of the infestation in parts of the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Ipswich and Logan local government areas.

Targeted treatment in priority areas also takes place to stop fire ants from spreading further. This helps to contain the ants around the fringe of the infestation until eradication treatment is delivered to those areas.

Once eradication treatment is complete, the area is monitored. If any remaining nests are found they are quickly treated. This will continue until the area is free of fire ants.


Stages of eradication


Find out more about what eradication treatment involves.

Fire ant biosecurity zones and movement controls are also in place to restrict the movement of materials that can carry fire ants.

Eradicating fire ants is not easy. No other country in the world has successfully eradicated an incursion as large as the one in South East Queensland. In fact, many countries, including the United States and China, have given up.