Spring is here and the heat is finally back! We're just as excited as you, though before we break out the eskies and thongs, we want to share some info that has us a little concerned, and as a genuine threat to care-free summers and the Australian way of life.
Initially discovered in Brisbane in 2001, these ants, native to South Africa, pose a threat to the environment and the economy. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 Fire Ants are considered a category 1 restricted pest, and as such, land owners are obliged to report suspected presence of Fire Ants on their property lest they be subject to heavy fines levied by Biosecurity Queensland
Fire ants should be avoided and one should take extreme caution in their presence. A fire ant sting is extremely unpleasant.
Their habitats, from the surface, appear as mounds of mud and leaf litter, however underground, they are known to build a system of burrows and tunnels to move throughout their colony. In the absence of natural shelter Mounds can reach up to forty centimetres tall and descend a metre and a half below ground with the ants preferring to build nests in moist irrigated soil.
Preferring to make their nests in moist areas that are abundant with sunlight, fire ants are particularly fond of lawns, fields, and parks, and are not restricted by soil types. Despite an affinity for sunny areas, overly dry climates provide an unfavourable habitat for the pest.
Rotting stumps and logs and tree bases can sometimes provide a habitat for colonies. Similar to other ant species, fire ants are opportunistic foragers, often finding their way inside residences searching for water and sustenance. Aided by the convenience of an indoor food source it is not uncommon for fire ants to nest at the base of a home or commercial building.
How can I prevent fire ants invading?
Fire Ants are subterranean so can travel underground from neighbouring yards and also have winged reproductive alates, so colonising flights can set up in your yard, best for regular inspections and treatments and notifying your neighbours.
Need More Information?
Check these handy links to learn more about fire ants and how to deal with them
Top 5 places to check for fire ants
Living and working in fire ant biosecurity zones
Fire ant biosecurity zones suburbs list
What's involved in fire ant treatment
Fire ant treatment frequently asked questions
Training and education about fire ants
Fire ant biology and ecology