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Invasive fire ant eradication plan delayed

December 1, 2017

THE MASSIVE battle against a tiny pest is heating up as authorities prepare to make a stand at the final frontier - Ipswich.

Fire ants. The small, destructive pests were discovered in south-east Queensland in 2001 and have been invading the neighbouring territory since.

In July, all levels of government agreed on a $411.4 million plan to eradicate the ants before they march across the rest of Australia and wreak havoc on the environment and our agricultural sector.



WEEKS of wet weather in Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Lockyer and Somerset have delayed the invasive fire ant treatment program. 

The first round of a two-year eradication program was stalled as biosecurity officers were unable to treat fire ant nests in wet weather.

Acting Agriculture Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said despite the delay, residents could be assured fire ants were being eradicated under a nationally-agreed biosecurity strategy.

"The first of three rounds of bait treatment is being applied between this month and June 2018, and will continue for two consecutive years in this region to eradicate fire ants," he said.

"Obviously, it would be a waste of taxpayers' money to treat fire ant nests in wet weather."

Up to 140 staff have been hired to tackle fire ants across the state as part of the $411.4 million decade-long eradication program expected to double the effort to neutralise the threat of red imported fire ants.

The discovery at Lowood in August was the first time the destructive ants had been found in the Somerset Regional Council area, and followed a positive case at Pine Mountain in April.

Another case was confirmed at Prenzlau, near Minden, last month. Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann said one of the three positive identifications were made on his property.


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