Fire ants march on

FIRE ANT THREAT: Fire ants have been found in Forest Hill, ringing alarm bells for the Lockyer Valley.
FIRE ANT THREAT: Fire ants have been found in Forest Hill, ringing alarm bells for the Lockyer Valley. Contributed

LOCKYER Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones slammed fire ant eradication processes in the Lockyer Valley and questioned the efficiency of Biosecurity Queensland.

Cr Jones said fire ants continued to be a concern in the area, despite prevention methods. He said until Biosecurity Queensland was "fair dinkum" it would never stop fire ants.

"They say we have had fire ants for a long time but I was one of the first people to be bitten by a fire ant in this valley and let me tell you, if they had been here for a long time, we would have known about it," he said. "These methods of eradication are not working - it's basically an honour system with businesses.

"We have been continually hounding them for 10 years and yet the fire ants have kept coming. One ant is too big of an infestation for me."

Cr Jones said the situation was close to reaching a point of no return.

Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre deputy director Craig Jennings said remote sensing surveillance technology had found five out of every eight mounds in Queensland.

"There have been 11 mounds discovered and destroyed in the Lockyer Valley, since the first mound was found at Mulgowie," he said.

"What we can do now is target disturbed areas. We are in the best place we have been in a long time for eradication."

Mr Jennings said preventative measures had been taken, and Biosecurity Queensland had placed all businesses dealing with high risk items on approval management plans.

"This sets out a series of steps they have to go through, to make sure they are not infected," Mr Jennings said.

"There are a number of inspectors that go around and audit the businesses, according to risk management plans and we also do spot audits."

Mr Jennings said there was anecdotal evidence fire ants had been in the valley for more than 25 years.

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