How fire ants spread

Fire ants are highly mobile and can fly long distances, raft on water and be moved in organic material into new areas.

Fire ants are smart and highly adaptive and can survive in a range of climates and conditions.

They can:

  • travel over and under ground
  • fly up to 5 km
  • raft on waterways after floods or wet weather events.

Fire ants can also spread when people move:

  • materials such as soil, hay, mulch, manure, quarry products, turf and potted plants
  • containers that have been used with organic materials, such potted plants
  • dirty machinery that has been used to move restricted material.

To stop the spread, fire ant biosecurity zones and associated movement controls are in place in parts of Queensland.

How far would fire ants have spread if it were not for the program’s work?

Potential spread of fire ants in Australia