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Fire ants and flood are a recipe for new Ipswich infestations

Ipswich residents are warned to be vigilant with fire ants on the march in the region following recent floods.

Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said fire ants were a dangerous, imported pest that can severely damage the environment, our outdoor lifestyle and the agriculture and tourism industries.

“They inflict a painful, fiery sting, which in rare cases can cause a severe allergic reaction,” Cr Milligan said.

“Ipswich is in a Biosecurity zone with many known outbreak areas, but with the recent flooding it is likely fire ants have used the floodwater to ‘raft’ and colonise new areas.

“I urge everyone to check their yards and properties now for fire ants, and report any sightings through fireants.org.au or call 13 25 23.”

Fire ant nest next to a street tree in Redbank Plains.

Nests along a road reserve in Redbank Plains.

Deputy Mayor and Division 1 Councillor Jacob Madsen said a community member recently reported multiple fire ant nests along the road reserve on Mount Juillerat Drive in Redbank Plains.

“As it was public land it was reported to both council and the National Fire Ant Eradication Program. Council investigation found about 250 fire ant nests on the road reserve,” Cr Madsen said.

“Thanks to the report and fast response this infestation can now be treated. It will take a whole-of-community response like this for us to stay on top of fire ants in Ipswich.”

Division 1 Councillor Sheila Ireland said it was important for families to be vigilant as fire ant nests were usually found in open areas such as lawns and along roadsides, as well as pastures and unused cropland.

“Nests often appear as dome-shaped mounds that can be up to 40cm high or may be flat and look like a small patch of disturbed soil,” Cr Ireland said.

“The nests become more visible after rain because the fire ants build their nests higher in the wet.”

A free 15-minute online training course for residents has recently launched at fireants.org.au

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