Region has 19 suburbs in new fire ant zone

Published 3:42pm 9 August 2022

Region has 19 suburbs in new fire ant zone
Words by Nick Crockford

Nineteen suburbs in the Moreton Bay Region are being added to fire ant biosecurity zones as a precaution against one of the world’s worst invasive pests.

Additions to Biosecurity Zone Two (BZ2) start in the Hills District and Samford, then cut a swathe up through Pine Rivers into the North Lakes area and across to parts of the Redcliffe peninsula.

The suburbs are: Samford Valley, Camp Mountain, Arana Hill, Ferny Hills, Brendale, Strathpine, Warner, Bray Park, Lawnton, Petrie, Murrumba Downs, Petrie, Kallangur, North Lakes, Mango Hill, Griffin, Rothwell, Kippa-Ring and Clontarf.

These zone changes, which come into effect on September 1, are among 60 additional suburbs across South-East Queensland in seven different council areas.

In the last 12 months three fire ant nests have been located in the Moreton Bay Region at Rothwell, Griffin and Samford.

Region has 19 suburbs in new fire ant zone
Picture courtesy National Fire Ant Eradication Program

“It does not mean the new suburbs being added are overrun with fire ants,” a spokesperson for the National Fire Ant Eradication Program said.

“In fact, very few, if any nests have been found in the suburbs we are adding to the zone in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area.

“We regularly monitor and review the zones to reflect the areas where we perceive risk and observe fire ant detections.

“We may add new suburbs to the fire ant biosecurity zones if fire ants have been found in the suburb, or if the suburb is at risk of infestation from a neighbouring suburb.”

The spokesperson said moving just one fire ant queen to a new area could lead to an entire community being infested.

Region has 19 suburbs in new fire ant zone
Picture courtesy National Fire Ant Eradication Program

National Fire Ant Eradication Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said eradication efforts in parts of Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Ipswich were showing promising results.

“The last thing we want is for someone to transport live fire ants back into these areas,” he said.

“By strengthening our fire ant biosecurity zones, we can stop fire ants from spreading and reinfesting areas already being treated.

“The zones apply to anyone who works with or moves organic materials that can carry fire ants such as soil, hay, mulch, manure, quarry products, turf and potted plants, sourced from inside the zones.

“You are legally obliged to check the material you’re carrying or receiving is fire ant-free.”

Region has 19 suburbs in new fire ant zone
Picture courtesy National Fire Ant Eradication Program

Penalties apply to individuals and businesses who do not comply.

The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is a nationally cost-shared program funded by all Australian state and territory governments and the federal government.

Free training is available through the fire ants website to help people better understand fire ants and how they can help eradicate them.

Tips are available for residents with video showing how dangerous fire ant stings can be.

For more on fire ant biosecurity zones, precautions and training visit fireants.org.au.

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