Detections of importance

High-risk detections receive priority sample detection, treatment, and surveillance.

Kids playing soccer in backyard

Fire ants are primarily found in developed area of South East Queensland, with most nests located in and around Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan.

Nests detected in areas outside the known infestation area or our operational boundary are considered ‘detections of importance’ due to the impacts they can have our way of life.

Find out more about:


Types of high risk detections

There are 3 high risk categories within a detection of importance:

  • Significant detection—nests found outside our operational boundary.
  • Detection in an area undergoing eradication clearance treatment—nests found in an area receiving or have previously undergone intensive fire ant eradication treatment.
  • Boundary detection—nests found up to 5km inside our operational boundary.

We prioritise these detections to help prevent the spread of fire ants, and ask the local community to help us by looking for and reporting any suspect nests.

It is important to report any suspect ants or nests you find.


Our response to a detection

close up fire ant

If we find suspect ants or receive public report of nests in either of our high-risk detection of importance categories we will respond quickly.

Our response will vary slightly depending on the location and number of nests, information provided by the reporter and the risk of spreading if the ants are fire ants.

In the instance of detections of importance our typical response includes a combination of:

  • site visit and sample detection — this is generally completed within 72 hours of the find. Our scientists will also complete genetic testing of the ants to ensure they are fire ants and determine how they arrived at the site. This information is particularly important if we suspect human-assisted movement
  • treatment of the nests — this will likely include baiting and direct nest injection of all nests, and broadscale bait treatment of the surrounding area
  • delineation and targeted surveillance — the scale and type of surveillance will vary however, it will include our teams extensively checking the immediate area and nearby ideal habitats to locate and destroy all fire ant nests. In cases of highest risk this will be completed out to 2km from all nests
  • communication and engagement — the extent of these activities and who we contact is dependent on the risk of the detection. In instances of greatest risk, we will inform residents and businesses located near the detection of the find. This may include electronic notifications, mailbox deliveries, digital advertising, phone calls or doorknocks.

What to do if there is a detection in your area

We may let you, your neighbours, and local businesses know if fire ants are found in your suburb or a nearby location.

If you receive or see communication to this effect, or you are located within 5km of a detection of importance we ask you to:


Recent significant detections

Carrara and Worongary: A member of the public found and reported a fire ant nest on a property in Carrara on 8 November 2022. The nests were treated. Delineation surveillance in the surrounding area has found further nests, including in nearby Worongary.

Significant detection map of fire ants found at Carrara

Summerholm: Aerial surveillance activities discovered 100 nests on a rural property, with further investigation finding 300+ nests across 25 nearby properties. The nests have been treated and delineation surveillance is continuing.

Summerholm detection of importance 5km radius

Kentville: Program field officers found one fire ant nest while completing surveillance on a property on 7 October 2021. The nest was treated and delineation surveillance now completed.

Kentville, fire ant detection of importance