Fire ants break containment lines at Lowood

Fire ants break containment lines at Lowood


Red fire ants. Photo: shutterstock.com

Red fire ants. Photo: shutterstock.com

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The nests were found on vacant land in Lowood in the Somerset region, more than six kilometres outside the biosecurity zone.

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Red fire ants have broken containment lines and reached new ground, after nests found west of Brisbane were confirmed to be the imported insects.

The nests were found on vacant land in Lowood in the Somerset region, meaning they have stretched more than six kilometres outside the biosecurity zone designed to restrict them.

It was also the first time fire ants have been detected Somerset Regional Council area, with the 10 nests destroyed by National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program officers.

Surveillance operations have also been undertaken within a one-kilometre radius of the discovery, and work was continuing on attempting to determine the cause of the outbreak.

NRIFAEP director Geoff Kent described fire ants as "a serious invasive pest", which can inflict painful stings and in some cases lead to anaphylactic shock and death.

Fire ants can also disrupt primary producers' livelihoods as they like to live in disturbed soil, manure and hay, making agriculture an obvious target. They have the potential to kill plants, impact on livestock, damage equipment and infrastructure, and limit market access.

Biosecurity Queensland urged Lowood locals to check their properties and work sites for any more nests.

"We need the local community to help by being our eyes on the ground, as you know your property best. Check your property and tell us if you find ants you think could be fire ants," Mr Kent said.

"Fire ants very in size, between 2-6 millimetres, are coppery-brown with a dark abdomen, inflict a painful sting and are aggressive. Fire ant nests are moulds of loose soil with no entry or exit holes."

In 2015, fire ants were spreading rapidly and threatening south-east Queensland's $230 million agricultural region in the Lockyer Valley, with the area providing 40 per cent of south east Queensland's vegetables at the time.

For more information on fire ants or to report suspect fire ants, visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call 13 25 23.

The story Fire ants break containment lines at Lowood first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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