Fire ants in the frame these holidays

Fire ants and magnifying glass. | Newsreel
Families travelling on school holidays are being asked to report any fire ant nests they see. | Photo: Supplied by ISC

School holiday snaps may be a bit different this year if the Invasive Species Council (ISC) has their way.

The group charged with managing Australia’s fire ant infestation has asked Queensland families to photograph and report fire ant nests they find on their holiday travels.

ISC Advocacy Manager Reece Pianta said families could join the fight against fire ants.

“Over the school holidays, thousands of Australian families will be heading to places like the Gold Coast or Byron Bay for a holiday or going out camping with the kids on Minjerribah or the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Pianta said.

“Sadly, these incredible holiday spots are at risk of a fire ant invasion, so we’re asking families to step up and join the fire ant fight these school holidays.”

Mr Pianta said it did not matter if people were unsure of the type of ant nest they see.

“Every picture that is sent in will be vital information for the eradication program.

“Of course, fire ants are dangerous. Don’t put yourself, clothing or belongings in direct contact with ants or their nests.”

He asked parents to go with their children if they were curious about a nest.

“Make sure you (parents) go with them and ensure they stay at arm’s length when taking a photo.”

Mr Pianta said if fire ants were allowed to spread across Australia it would cost the economy $2 billion and cut agriculture output by up to 40 percent.

He said there would be 140,000 extra medical visits and over 3000 anaphylactic reactions every year, with about 60 percent of Australians stung every year.

“Fire ants will be worse than cane toads, rabbits, foxes and feral cats combined if they get out and spread across Australia.”

How to report fire ants:

  • In Queensland phone 13 25 23 or visit the fire ants website.
  • In New South Wales phone 1800 680 244 or visit the DPI website.
  • If you think fire ants are on your property, find advice on what to do by visiting the fire ants website.
Fire Ant distribution _ South East QLD Map