The Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) has the potential to become a major social and agricultural pest resulting in the loss of millions of dollars every year. This pest has been discovered in the South Western suburbs of Brisbane in the past 18 months and a major eradication program is now under way in Queensland. In conjunction with the Commonwealth government, South Australian agencies will be conducting surveys of high risk premises to ensure that Fire Ants are not allowed to establish in South Australia.
|Fire Ant Worker (Courtesy Peter Green)|
Identifying Fire Ant Mounds
|Fire Ant mound (Courtesy Texas A&M University)|
|Fire Ants on pen (Courtesy Texas A&M University)|
|Ideal site for Fire Ants (Courtesy Texas A&M University)|
Plant Health Organisation(PHO)(SA only) : 1300 666 010
For futher information see Queensland Department of Primary Industries
The program aims to monitor high-risk sites for RIFA (Red Imported Fire Ant) incursions and to raise awareness of RIFA so that any future incursions can be reported quickly.
While there are no known infestations of Fire Ants in South Australia, over the next 12 months staff from PIRSA and AQIS will be conducting surveys of high-risk areas to determine if this ant has been introduced.
It is thought the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) was introduced into Australia through the Brisbane area some years ago.
Fire Ants were detected in the South Western suburbs of Brisbane, and while it is not known how the ants arrived in Queensland it is thought that they may have been there for as long as five years. RIFA is now well established in the Brisbane area but it is believed there is a good possibility of eradicating this pest.
The surveillance program is targeting sites that receive imports into South Australia from Queensland, which may act as a vehicle of transportation of this pest.
In summary, the program (Finished in South Australia)aims to :
Identify sites that are at risk of importing RIFA
monitor the above sites and education of staff.
spread awareness of the potential impact of RIFA.
Potentially, Fire Ants could become the greatest ecological problem to enter Australia since the rabbit.
There is also the potential for impacts to the nursery and landscape industries due to the movement of high-risk materials such as pot plants, soil, mulch and other materials.
If allergic to stings, immediately seek medical advice.
Fire Ants inflict a fiery sting that causes a small blister containing pus. These blisters can become very itchy and if broken can become infected. On rare occasions stings can cause severe acute allergic reaction.
Important. Avoid contact with the ants.
Information in this paper courtesy of Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries.
Project Collaborators: Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries
You can download a brochure with information about fire ants (PDF), including what to do if you are stung by a fire ant.