Lockyer people rally to report fire ant nests
IT SEEMS the message about the dangers of fire ants may be getting through, as calls from residents of the Lockyer Valley to report suspected fire ant nests to Biosecurity have jumped by 168%.
Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre director Neil O'Brien said valley residents should be congratulated.
"This is an incredible 'call to arms', and I thank the people of Lockyer Valley for their support of the fire ant program," he said.
"Everybody has a role to play in eradicating fire ants, and this fantastic response by the local community shows people are ready to help wherever they can."
Mr O'Brien said the detections in the Lockyer Valley had made the local community aware of the fire ant threat.
"Just last week a farmer at Summerholm reported a nest after running over it with a tractor," he said.
"A Biosecurity Queensland team promptly went to the site and destroyed the nest.
"This latest Summerholm detection is 3km west from the previous Summerholm and Hatton Vale infestations."
Mr O'Brien said public reporting of fire ants accounted for nearly 70% of the fire ant-infested sites found in south-east Queensland.
"This high level of public support has greatly contributed to the success of the eradication program," he said.
"Members of industry and the community in the greater Brisbane area have also responded to the general threat of fire ants, with overall public reports in south-east Queensland more than doubling since fire ants were detected in the Lockyer Valley.
"I thank the community for its ongoing support of the fire ant program and I encourage all residents to report any suspect ant activity."
Fire ants are a small ant, 2-6mm in size, coppery-coloured with a darker abdomen.
Their nests look like a mound of loose soil with no visible entry or exit holes, and if the nest is disturbed, the ants will attack en masse and can sting multiple times.
Residents are urged to check their properties for fire ants and report any suspect nests to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. For information on fire ants, see biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23. Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).