Fire ants are one of the world’s most invasive pests and they have the potential to devastate our environment, economy and the outdoor way of life we know and love. To stop the spread of fire ants, the Department of Education is collaborating with the National Fire Ant Eradication Program to manage fire ants across schools within South-East Queensland. This important work will help protect our schools and community from the dangers posed by fire ants.
An initial pilot program has treated 46 schools across the Logan, Ipswich, Somerset and Gold Coast City local government areas (Metropolitan and South-East education regions). This will expand over the coming years to include additional schools. The treatment consists of applying two rounds of an insect growth regulator which sterilises the fire ant queen and prevents new ants from maturing into adults. These types of products are widely used in mosquito control programs, cockroach treatment and pet flea collars and when used according to instructions, are not harmful to humans, pets or wildlife.
The first round of treatment occurred in early 2023 and round two is being completed during April and May. The fire ant bait is being applied by experienced pest management technicians.
The school treatment program supports efforts to eradicate fire ants within South-East Queensland by suppressing the fire ant population in areas until eradication treatment takes place. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 all Queenslanders have an obligation to manage biosecurity risks. The Department of Education is meeting its obligations by managing fire ants on land it owns or manages.
The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is also running a range of community projects to provide residents in selected suburbs with free fire ant bait to treat their yards to support eradication goals. For the latest information on community projects or for more information about fire ants visit: https://www.fireants.org.au