Detections of importance

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

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

close up fire ant

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

Kids playing soccer in backyard

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

Minjeeribah: A vigilant member of the public reported one nest on a private property on the edge of Dunwich on 16 January 2023. Our teams found several additional nests whilst conducting surveillance and treatment in the area.

On 26 July, we received a report of one fire ant nest on a property inland from Main Beach. Our teams have since found more than 100 additional nests. We are working closely with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation to implement a coordinated eradication effort which will include both treatment and surveillance.

Janguwajah: Officers from our program discovered one nest on a property on 24 August, whilst completing a compliance check with the assistance of our odour detection dogs. We are working closely with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation to implement a coordinated eradication effort which will include both treatment and surveillance.

Burpengary East and Burpengary: A vigilant member of the public found and reported one nest on a vacant house block in Burpengary East on 23 May 2023. Our officers located several additional nests on the property. A second public report was made on 01 June 2023 in Burpengary, confirming one nest found close by on private land.

Morayfield: On 17–18 August 2023, our officers located 20 nests across several sites in Morayfield whilst conducting routine fire containment activities. We will continue conducting extensive surveillance in the area to ensure no fire ant nests remain.

Tallebudgera: A vigilant member of the public found and reported one nest at an equestrian centre on 19 July 2023. The nest has been treated and surveillance activities are now underway in the area.

Innisplain: A member of the public found a fire ant nest on a rural grazing property in Innisplain on 25 May 2023.  Our officers have found and treated several more whilst conducting surveillance of nearby properties.

Tabooba: A member of the public found and a fire ant nest on a rural property in Tabooba on 4 July 2023. Our officers have found and treated additional nests and will be continuing to conduct surveillance in the area.