Red imported fire ants

​​​​​​​​Current situ​​ation

Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) continue to be the target of a nationally funded eradication program.  

New Sout​h Wales

In November 2014, RIFA was detected at Port Botany, Sydney.  The ants were found by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture during routine biosecurity surveillance.

On 4 December 2014, genetic analysis confirmed that the ants were Red Imported Fire Ants, but this particular incident was not related to any of Australia’s existing RIFA incursions.

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is the lead agency in response to this incident.  The latest information on the Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) detection at Port Botany can be found on the NSW DPI website.


RIFA was first detected in an area of Brisbane in February 2001 and have since been found at various locations within South-East Queensland. In November 2013 RIFA was found at Yarwun in central Queensland.​ Another incursion of RIFA was found on Commonwealth land at Brisbane Airport in late 2015. This separate incursion is being eradicated by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on behalf of the Australian Government.  A Response Plan for this incursion was endorsed on 17 December 2015.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and F​isheries has further information:

Reporting detections

RIFA is a notifiable pest, which means there is a legal obligation to report suspected detections in Australia.

Anyone who suspects that they have seen red imported fire ants, needs to report their sightings to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

About Red Imported Fire Ants​

Red Imported Fire Ants are a serious exotic pest that can inflict painful bites on people, pets and livestock.

The Fire Ant is native to the South American countries of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

The red imported fire ant is the most well studied and notorious ant in the world. The extensive damage caused to ecological and agricultural systems by fire ant is well documented.

Photo of red imported fire ant

Photo courtesy of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries​