Fire Ants | Information and treatments
Help keep Queensland free from fire ants
- Fire ants are a dangerous, invasive pest which will have a significant impact on the Australia way of life if they become established.
- The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is in place to contain and eliminate the fire ant infestation.
- However, 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?
Everyone is required by law to report fire ants. If you think you have found fire ants, please report to the National Fire Ant Eradication Program within 24 hours. You can do this online at fireants.org.au or call 13 25 23.
What are your fire ant treatment options?
There are three options available to homeowners and business:
- Use a qualified pest management company (fees apply)
- Ask the National Fire Ant Program to do it for you
- Treat your own property.
For more information visit fireants.org.au
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:
- AllPro Pest Control trains its staff in the treatment of fire ants safely and effectively.
- We can send a technician out at short notice (due to the amount of work Biosecurity Queensland undertake it may take several days before they visit) – you don’t want to leave a fire ant nest in place and risk getting bitten!
- AllPro will report the treatment on your behalf to the National Fire Ant Eradication Program.
- 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
Living in a fire ant biosecurity zone – movement control…
Fire ants are easily transported in soil and landscaping materials. As such if you live or run a business that operates within a fire ant biosecurity zone, you need to be aware of and follow the movement controls.
This essentially means that any material that leaves your property that is likely to contain fire ants needs to be inspected. If fire ants are present they need to be treated.
These regulations apply to both homeowners and businesses.
The type of materials that need to be inspected include:
- Soil, sands, quarry material
- Mulch, hay, straw
- Potted plants
Who should get a fire ant inspection?
- If you suspect you have fire ants
- Homeowners and builders carrying out building work
- Give us a call to carry out an inspection before you start work and put a management plan in place for your project
- Businesses that move material that could contain fire ants
- We can review your material movement and put in place an inspection and treatment schedule to make sure you remain compliant
How do we do an inspection for fire ant nests?
- It’s important to determine whether you do indeed have fire ants and the extent of the infestation
- We will inspect your entire property and if necessary use lure bait to check for fire ants in harder to inspect areas
- 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
We need to follow the method specified by the National Fire Ant Eradication Program.
- The treatment involves direct nest injection of insecticide into all nests
- A granular fire ant bait is spread over the surrounding area to pick up any small nests (which can be hard to locate)
- We return in 7 days to check activity / confirm eradication
- We complete all paperwork so you don’t have to and send into the National Fire Ant Eradication Program
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 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 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.
Where 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 covering the greater Brisbane area, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands. There have also been infestations in the Scenic Rim, the Lockyer Valley and Gold Coast.
Fire ant movement controls
Although there is some natural expansion of the infestations as nests produce new 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.
To find information about the rules you need to follow, visit the fire ant biosecurity zones information hub.