Aerial treatment

Distributing bait by helicopter is the quickest and most cost-efficient way to treat fire ants on larger properties.

Fire ant eradication involves treating all targeted properties between September and June each year, whether you see signs of fire ants or not.

We need to treat 100% of properties in our planned treatment area multiple times over several years. We use a product that is safe for humans, livestock and pets. One missed nest could be the difference between reinfestation and further spread, jeopardising eradication efforts.

RIFA Program activities

Aerial treatment means less interruption for property owners and managers, and it also enables us to treat hundreds of thousands of hectares each treatment season.

Before treatment

Before we carry out aerial fire ant treatment, we inform residents about the planned treatment dates. This depends on weather and may need to be changed.

Treatment can occur between 7am and 4pm, 7-days-a-week and multiple rounds of bait will be required—this is dependent on our treatment plan.

Sign showing aerial fire ant treatment is being carried out

Each site is individually assessed before treatment to consider factors such as crops, livestock and water sources.

Sites that are not suitable for treatment by helicopter will be treated by using handheld bait spreaders and/or utility-terrain vehicles.

While the bait is safe for humans and pets, we recommend free-range poultry is contained during treatment. All other animals do not need to be contained.

If your property has animals, crops, or other features you think we should be aware of, you can submit an online property information form.

Complete a property information form if your property has crops or other features you want to tell us about.

During treatment

helicopter, fire ant eradication treatment, fire ant bait

Fire ant bait is placed in specially designed hoppers located on the side of our helicopters.

Using the individual property treatment plans, our pilots distribute the bait over the target area.

These plans take into consideration property hazards, animals, and any concerns raised by the landowner.

Together with on-ground staff, our highly experienced pilots observe on-ground behaviour of horses, cattle, and other livestock during the treatment. If issues arise, they will fly the helicopter away from the area.

Want to know which planned treatment activities are being undertaken this year and where?

After treatment

To ensure fire ant treatment has the best chance of success, it is important that you:

  • keep poultry away from the treated area for 24 hours after treatment—this will give the ants time to collect the bait.
  • do not disturb or mow the treated area for 24 hours, including crops, paddocks, gardens, and lawns.
  • do not water or irrigate the treated area for 24 hours as fire ants will not gather wet bait.