Fire ants

Red imported fire ant

Fire Ants | Information and treatments



Help keep Queensland free from fire ants

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  • Fire ants are an invasive pest which will have a significant impact on the Australia way of life if they become established.
  • The Queensland Government have a fire ant program in place to contain and eliminate the fire ant infestation.
  • It’s important that homeowners and business owners in South East Queensland help in the fire ant control efforts.

What should you do if you think you have fire ants?

Fire ant centre sign

As a reportable pest, if you think you may have fire ants on your property, you need to contact Queensland Biosecurity using their online form or by calling 13 25 23. They will arrange to come out and inspect your property. If they confirm fire ants they will carry out a treatment for free.

Alternatively, you can engage a pest manager who has been accredited by Biosecurity Queensland (such as AllPro Pest Control) to identify and treat fire ants (for a fee).

Advantages of using AllPro Pest Control for fire ants problems

Although fire ant treatments through AllPro Pest Control are a paid service, it has some great benefits:

  • We can send a technician out at short notice (due to the amount of work Biosecurity Queensland undertake it may take several weeks before they visit) – you don’t want to leave a fire ant nest in place and risk getting bitten!
  • AllPro complete all the necessary paperwork on your behalf
  • If the ant present is not a fire ant, we can still provide a suitable ant treatment to deal with the problem
  • We guarantee elimination of all nests on your property
  • AllPro are ant control specialists with many years identifying and successfully treatment a wide range of ant species

Fire ant inspection and treatment

Inspection for fire ant nests

  • It’s important to determine whether you do indeed have fire ants and the extent of the infestation
  • If we positively identify you have fire ants we need to collect a sample to send to the Qld Government for genetic identification
  • It is important that we inspect the whole of your property for fire ants. It is quite common for there to be many nests as part of the same colony and small nests can be very hard to spot. For successful eradication we need to identify and treat all nests for inclusion in our report to the government

Treatment of fire ant nests

Fire ant nest injection

We need to follow the method specified by Biosecurity Queensland

  • The treatment involves direct nest injection of all nests
  • The use of fire ant bait spread over the surrounding area will pick up any small nests (which can be hard to locate)
  • Return in 7 days to check activity / confirm eradication
  • Complete all paperwork and send into Biosecurity Queensland

Fire ant information

Where do fire ants come from?

Their correct name is the red important fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), often shortened to RIFA.

RIFA are native to South American and was spread accidentally to the southern USA in the 1930s, from where it has spread through shipping to other parts of the world. It was first detected in Brisbane in 2001.

There are other species of fire ant such as the little fire (current invasion in Cairns) and the tropical fire ant (established in the NT).

What do red imported fire ants look like?

Red imported fire ant

Red imported fire ants are small ants between 2-6 mm long – they come in a range of sizes (which is quite unusual for ants).

They are a shiny brown / red colour, with their abdomens normally darker than their heads and bodies.

Identifying fire ant nests

Fire ant nest

Fire ant nests are hard to spot when small, but when they get a bigger they have a number of unique features:

  • Small dome shaped mound (up to 40cm high)
  • Looks like a pile of dirt with no obvious entry holes
  • Often found on open ground or next to objects on the ground (poles, rocks, pavers)
  • Ants will “pour” out of the nest when disturbed

How dangerous are fire ants?

A single fire ant sting is painful but perhaps not as painful as a bee sting. However, often a victim will get multiple stings when they stand on or near a nest by accident.

Apart from the pain, like bee stings, some people can suffer severe allergic reactions leading to anaphylactic shock and potential death. If you suspect an allergic reaction after being stung seek medical attention immediately.

Although anyone can get stung, children and pets playing in yards and livestock in pastures are particularly susceptible.

Whereabouts are red imported fire ants in Queensland?

The initial infestation has spread from the port of Brisbane to western areas of Brisbane, with infestations now overing the greater Brisbane area, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands. There have also been infestations in the Scenic Rim, the Lockyear Valley and Gold Coast.

Fire ant movement controls

Although there is some natural expansion of the infestations as nests produce new kings and queens to start new nests, often the infestations are moved by accident by businesses in the building, landscape and agricultural industries. Such business need to be aware of the movement control requirements, which are legal obligations that need to be met by such businesses in the fire ant biosecurity zone.

Our fire ant certifications and permits

Fire ant application permit

Barry Clare certificate

Jack Taylor certificate