pest control

for fire ants

DO YOU HAVE A FIRE ANT PROBLEM?

Fire ants are notorious for their aggressive behavior, adaptability, and painful sting. These tiny creatures, measuring between 2 and 6 mm, are copper brown in color with a darker abdomen. They are highly skilled at survival and can be found in a variety of sizes within a single nest. Fire ants can be easily confused with other ant species, making identification and reporting crucial for effective management.

Identifying Fire Ants

When trying to identify fire ants, it’s important to look for their distinct features. These ants have a copper brown coloration with a darker abdomen. They are relatively small, measuring between 2 and 6 mm in length. One characteristic that sets fire ants apart is their aggressive nature. When disturbed, they swarm and deliver a painful sting.


It’s worth noting that fire ants can be mistaken for other local ant species, leading to confusion when trying to identify and report them. Therefore, it’s crucial to accurately identify fire ants to ensure appropriate measures can be taken.

Recognising Fire Ant Nests

Fire ant nests can take on different appearances depending on the soil type and colony size. They can appear as dome-shaped mounds or flat patches of disturbed soil. Unlike other ant nests, fire ant nests do not have obvious entry or exit holes. Instead, ants enter and leave the nest through underground tunnels that can extend up to 30 meters in length.

Internally, fire ant nests consist of interconnected galleries, resembling a honeycomb structure. If a nest is disturbed, the workers may quickly relocate the queen and the brood to a new location. Fire ant nests are commonly found in open areas such as lawns, pastures, roadsides, and unused cropland. They can also be located next to or under objects on the ground, like timber, logs, rocks, pavers, or bricks.

The Importance of Reporting Fire Ants

Fire ants pose a significant threat to the environment, economy, and outdoor way of life. It’s crucial to report any sightings of fire ants promptly to prevent their spread and mitigate their impact. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation to take reasonable steps in preventing the spread of fire ants.

In Queensland, residents are legally required to report suspected fire ant sightings within 24 hours of discovery. Failure to comply with this obligation may result in penalties. Reporting fire ants can be done through an online form or by calling a dedicated hotline. The faster fire ants are reported, the greater the chances of preventing their establishment and limiting their impact.

The National Fire Ant Eradication Program

To combat the fire ant threat, the National Fire Ant Eradication Program has been established. This program aims to find, contain, and destroy fire ants in South East Queensland. The 10-year Eradication Plan focuses on intensive and targeted eradication efforts spanning from Lockyer Valley to the Gold Coast.


Biosecurity zones have also been implemented to manage the movement of materials known to spread fire ants, such as soil, hay, mulch, and potted plants. The program operates as a nationally cost-shared eradication effort delivered by Biosecurity Queensland on behalf of the Australian Government and all state and territory governments.

Reporting Fire Ants and Treatment Options

If fire ants are found at a residential property, treatment kits are available for residents to use. It is recommended to order and use these kits promptly to reduce fire ant numbers. Additionally, treatment options are available for workplaces and other properties managed by individuals.


Self-treating fire ant nests using purchased bait is one option for homeowners. Hiring a licensed pest manager is another alternative for those who are unable to treat fire ants themselves. The National Fire Ant Eradication Program also provides treatment for high-priority areas, and residents will be notified of treatment activities via direct mail, advertising, or phone calls.

Biosecurity zones have also been implemented to manage the movement of materials known to spread fire ants, such as soil, hay, mulch, and potted plants. The program operates as a nationally cost-shared eradication effort delivered by Biosecurity Queensland on behalf of the Australian Government and all state and territory governments.

Report Fire Ants

Living in Fire Ant Biosecurity Zones

Living in a fire ant biosecurity zone requires residents to play an active role in reducing the risk of spreading fire ants. It is important to understand the requirements surrounding the movement of materials that can carry fire ants, such as soil, mulch, and potted plants. Compliance with these requirements helps protect the environment and prevent the establishment of fire ant colonies in new areas.

Fire Ant Zones

Fire Ant Training and Resources

To ensure effective management of fire ants, training is available for residents and individuals who work in fire ant biosecurity zones. Completing fire ant training equips individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify, report, and treat fire ants. Resources, such as forms and notifications, are also provided to facilitate reporting and communication with the National Fire Ant Eradication Program.

Fire Ant Map

The Impact of Fire Ants on the Australian Ecosystem

Fire ants are not native to Australia but have managed to establish themselves in some areas. They are highly adaptable and have the ability to survive in various climates and environments around the world. Fire ants reproduce quickly, with individual nests containing thousands of ants. By three years of age, a colony can have as many as 100,000 ants.


The impact of fire ants on the Australian ecosystem is significant. They can dominate local ant species, disrupt ecosystems, and cause harm to farmers. Fire ants have a painful sting, rendering backyards, playgrounds, and parks unusable. Eradicating fire ants requires a whole-of-community approach involving residents, businesses, and all levels of government.

Conclusion

Fire ants are aggressive insects with a painful sting. Prompt reporting and appropriate treatment are essential for managing their spread and mitigating their impact. The National Fire Ant Eradication Program aims to find, contain, and destroy fire ants in South East Queensland. By working together, we can protect the environment, economy, and outdoor way of life from the devastating consequences of fire ants.

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