6 May 2024. Last updated 6 May 2024.

On Thursday evening (2/5/24) AgForce staff attended a community update being held in Oakey by the National Fire Ant Eradication Program. 

Key points from the discussion were:

  • 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 2km of the infestation, without further nests being detected. For greater certainty of eradication, the surveillance area will be extended to 5km.
  • The program will also be deploying cutting edge surveillance tactics, including multispectral cameras mounted to helicopters, and environmental DNA (eDNA) testing of soil and water, to rule out further spread into the Murray Darling Basin.
  • The fire ant program are reaching out businesses and residents, starting with those business with 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. See Materials that can carry fire ants.
  • There is no confirmation it was introduced through turf.
  • The program are conducting a movement analysis of potential high-risk fire ant carrier materials going back over a 2 year period.
  • Genetic testing indicates the Oakey infestation is not linked to Kleinton; it is linked to a greater Brisbane population.

AgForce continues to retain strong communication ties with the Fire Ant Eradication Program, the Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce, and with other key stakeholders through the Fire Ant Coalition (the Invasive Species Council).  

For further information, see National Fire Ant Eradication Program here

If you have noticed a suspicious nest, it is essential that you Report fire ants using the Fire Ants Portal here or by calling 13 25 23.