19 September 2023
Toowoomba residents are being urged to continue playing an active role in protecting their community from fire ants.
Two fire ant nests were found in Kleinton in June and the National Fire Ant Eradication Program and Toowoomba Regional Council wants to ensure there are no more!
Program Executive Ashley Bacon from the National Fire Ant Eradication Program said the invasive pest has no place in Toowoomba and it’s important we keep it that way.
“Fire ants are dangerous and if left to spread could have devastating impacts in the region, Queensland and Australia.
“They can negatively impact our outdoor lifestyle and damage our agriculture and tourism sectors—it’s critical that we do everything we can to protect these industries and our way of life.
Thanks to the cooperation of the local community, the program’s officers have already surveyed and treated more than 1500 properties in Kleinton and surrounds and conducted dozens of compliance checks on local businesses moving organic material such as soil, hay, mulch and quarry products. An awareness campaign is also underway in the area to encourage residents to check their properties for fire ants.
Additional eradication activities, including treatment and surveillance will be conducted in the area for the next 2 years.
“Our teams have gone door-to-door, gate-to-gate looking for signs of fire ants, conducting broadscale eradication treatment and checking that local business are using fire ant-safe practices.
“I am pleased to say we have not found any more nests outside the original 2 nests but that is still two too many,” Mr Bacon said.
Toowoomba Regional Council Environment and Community Committee Portfolio Lead Cr Tim McMahon said ensuring the region is fire ant-free is a job for all residents.
“We need everyone in Toowoomba to keep their eyes on the ground.
“Please check your backyards, local parks, road verges and paddocks for signs of fire ants and let the National Fire Ant Eradication Program know if you spot any suspect ant nests.
“You can do this online at fireants.org.au or by calling 13 25 23.
“We need to work together to stop fire ants from infesting our beautiful part of the world.”
The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is a nationally cost-shared program funded by all Australian state and territory governments and the federal government.
Where and what to look for
Fire ants are copper brown with a darker abdomen and measure just 2–6 mm in size.
They are attracted to warm, open spaces and usually found in areas such as lawns, garden beds, near water sources, along roadsides, and in newly developed areas.
Nests can appear as dome-shaped mounds or be flat patches of loose soil with no obvious entry or exit holes.
Fire ants swarm when they attack, and victims are usually stung repeatedly leading to painful inflamed sores. In rare cases they can cause a severe allergic reaction in humans and animals.
Fire ants can be reported anytime at fireants.org.au or by calling 13 25 23.