Pest manager claims advantage in war against fire ants
AFTER three years of extensive baiting for fire ants, the coverage area is set to expand.
The program has run its course in the Lockyer Valley, with the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program adding parts of Ipswich and the Somerset into the program.
Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said all signs were pointing to success.
"Residents are telling us, 'there used to be ants, now there are none', and all of our scientific monitoring sites are clear," he said.
In September, the eradication activities will track towards Ipswich, involving Willowbank, Purga, Rosewood and Lowood - towns that fringe on the current treatment area.
"Treatment activities will continue in suburbs that border the new eradication area to ensure fire ants do not fly back in," Mr Dudgeon said.
"If the program receives the results it is expecting, the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and parts of Ipswich in the current eradication area will move to eradication clearance.
Mitchell Brimblecombe, who operates farming land in the Lockyer Valley, said the treatment program had been positive in his area.
"They've been doing their treatment program over the last couple of years, and we don't have any fire ants so it's obviously worked."
He said preventive work had also been carried out and he hadn't noticed any signs of the fire ants after having had "a couple of issues" in the past.
"As we plough the fields and while we're working the fields, we haven't found any and they haven't located any nests either so that's good."
Mr Brimblecombe, who grows vegetables and grain, said they had been able to continue with their normal program and operations while the National Red Fire Ant Program was under way.
"It's good we don't have major issues because no one wants to invest in an area with major issues.
"You don't want to send a hay bale out - you're not allowed to - with a risk of fire ants.
"We don't want them and we don't have them."
He said the fire ants, which could fly for up to 30km, could be potentially harmful to children and young cattle.
"They would be an issue if they get out of control, but they have invested to stop them in Lockyer and south-east Queensland."