General News

14 May, 2024

Call 13 25 23

With the township of Oakey within the 5 kilometre radius of normal fire ant queen flight, 13 25 23 is the number to call if you see ants in your yard.

National Fire Ant Eradication program staff said some distinctive of fire ants are their differing size and mounds.
National Fire Ant Eradication program staff said some distinctive of fire ants are their differing size and mounds.

A genetic test has revealed the ants have come from a Logan family source.

Speculation has mounted that a turf farm is responsible, with Premier Steven Miles voicing this theory in Parliament last week.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner also made a statement giving credence to this theory.

What is currently understood is that a landscaping project was completed 16 months ago with numerous potential fire ant carriers involved, including but not limited to mulch, soil, turf and equipment.

Turf Queensland has released a statement in response to the Premier.

“Turf Queensland and its member growers are disappointed that our industry are being singled out as the source, without evidence,” a Turf Queensland spokesperson said.

“These accusations are severely affecting our marketplace and customer base with fear and innuendo.

“Turf Queensland maintains its position as a reputable industry and will continue to support its growers.”

A Community Information meeting was held at the Oakey Urban Landcare Centre on Thursday afternoon last week, which was attended by four staff from the National Fire Ant Eradication Program.

Key points from the discussion were that:

• The infestation area is believed to be contained within an area of 0.5 acre, all within the central area of the base.

• The infestation is likely to be at least 6-8 months old, with 128 mounds counted, including 80 primary nests (the remainder are secondary nests).

• All of the detected nests have been killed by direct nest injection.

• Three teams have been conducting surveillance within 2 kilometres of the infestation, without further nests being detected.

• For greater certainty of eradication, the surveillance area will be extended to 5 kilometres.

• The program will also be deploying cutting edge surveillance tactics, including multispectral cameras mounted to heli-copters, and environmental DNA (eDNA) testing of soil and water, to rule out further spread.

• The fire ant program is reaching out businesses and residents, starting with those business with a higher chance of moving materials that can spread fire ants.

• A biosecurity order has been placed on the Swartz Army Barracks, with full cooperation from the Australian Defence Force.

The origin of this infestation is highly likely to be human-assisted movement, but there is no confirmation it was introduced through turf.


Most Popular