What Are Fire Ants?
Fire ants are a dangerous invasive species that could spread to large areas of Australia. Fire ants could severely damage the environment, our outdoor lifestyle, and the agriculture and tourism industries. They inflict a painful, fiery sting, which can, in rare cases, cause a severe acute allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Fire Ants can inflict painful stings that can lead to anaphylactic shock and death.
Fire Ants can destroy crops and reduce yield by up to 60%.
Fire Ants can cause the cancellation of sporting and community events and make backyards and parks unusable.
Fire Ants can displace and kill some of Australia’s unique native species.
Fire Ants can even blind and kill pets and other animals.
The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program has made significant progress in eradicating fire ants from Australia. Surveillance is ongoing, and treatment and containment measures are continuing in areas of South East Queensland where the ants have been detected. It is essential that you remain vigilant and report any suspected sightings to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. The guide below will help you identify and effectively treat fire ants.
Fire Ants Treatment & Prevention
Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are quite small (2-6mm) and come in an unusual variety of sizes within one nest. Their heads and bodies are coppery-brown and their abdomens are darker. They are aggressive, particularly near the nest, and can inflict painful stings.
Fire ant nests
Fire ant nests have no obvious entry or exit holes.Nests often appear as dome-shaped mounds, but these mounds are not always easily identifiable. They can be up to 40cm high, but may also be flat and look like a small patch of disturbed soil.
They are usually found in open areas such as lawns and pastures, and along roadsides and unused cropland. Nests can also be found next to or under other objects on the ground, such as timber, logs, rocks, pavers or bricks. Look near pots or any areas of disturbed ground as well as:
- in pot plants on the ground
- in stores of topsoil, mulch and potting mixes
- under landscape materials (e.g. logs, stones)
- under timber or pallets on the ground
- adjacent to buildings and other structures
- in untidy or overgrown areas
- near areas of permanent water (e.g. the banks of dams, rivers, ponds, aquaculture containers)
- tufts of grass in open areas, where the soil is built up around the tufts.