Managing processed materials

Managing processed materials in a fire ant biosecurity zone

mulch piles, landscaping yard

To prevent the spread of one of the world’s most invasive pests, risk mitigation controls must be used when managing mulch, quarry materials and manure in the fire ant biosecurity zones.

What do I need to do?

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 (Regulation) outlines how processed materials such as mulch, quarry materials and manure must be managed in fire ant biosecurity zones.

To ensure you are compliant, you should follow the methods outlined below, unless the processed materials:
✔ are moved directly to a waste facility, subject to the zone restrictions below,
✔ have been at the property for less than 24 hours.


If you’re keeping mulch, quarry materials or manure you must use machinery to disturb it if you plan to move it off site. If the materials are stockpiled, the piles must be periodically disturbed to prevent fire ants building nests within the stockpile. Periodically means:
✔ every 21 days, and
✔ 24 hours prior to moving the material to another location.

Common activities to ‘disturb’ a material include any combination of turning, screening, crushing, shredding, chipping or washing.


If the mulch will remain on the property for more than 24 hours, you must use the following storage options:
✔ off-ground and covered, or
✔ on-ground and covered, either on:
o concrete or bitumen (no cracks), or
o a barrier that cannot be penetrated by fire ants (e.g. 200 micron unperforated plastic sheeting), or
o compacted ground (other than sand) that has been treated with an appropriate chemical product before storage.

Chemical treatment must be also be applied around the perimeter of all on-ground storage area options. This should be done by applying a 30 cm wide strip of insecticide containing bifenthrin. Check the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) website for suitable products and to ensure you use the correct amount and concentration. If the processed materials are stored on compacted ground, the whole surface area must be treated.

It is also important to keep the treated area free of material that could form an untreated bridge for fire ants to access the material.

Insecticides must be used in accordance with the conditions of the APVMA permit, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and in conjunction with the product’s label.


You may move processed materials, across and outside fire ant biosecurity zones if you:
✔ follow the movement and storage procedures, or
✔ move the material directly to a waste facility as follows:
o material originating within zone 1 can be moved to a waste facility within zone 1 or 2
o material originating within zone 2 can be moved to a waste facility within zone 2 only, or
✔ move the material within 24 hours of it being at the original place.

You can also use our fire ant advice tool to find out what requirements apply to you.

If you are unable to fulfil these requirements then you must apply for a biosecurity instrument permit (BIP) on our website or call 13 25 23.

Keeping a record

You should always keep a written record of the steps you take to ensure processed materials are stored and moved correctly, including chemical treatments applied and/or disturbance activities completed. These records should be kept for a minimum of two years.

More information

For more information or to complete our free fire ant training visit our website or call 13 25 23.

Last updated: August 2022