Red imported fire a nts (RIFA) (Solenopsis invicta) continue to be the target of eradication programs.
RIFA was first detected in February 2001 in the south western suburbs of Brisbane, South-east Queensland . Spread from the initial Brisbane infestation led to infestations around the greater Brisbane area including Ipswich, Logan and Redlands. Isolated infestations have also been found in the Scenic Rim, Gold Coast and Lockyer Valley areas. Subsequent incursions were detected at Yarwun (December 2013), Brisbane Airport (September 2015) and the Port of Brisbane (May 2016).
The incursions in South-east Queensland, Yarwun and Brisbane Airport are subject to nationally cost-shared eradication programs, while the eradication program for Port of Brisbane is funded by the Commonwealth and led by Queensland.
The National Management Group (NMG) has agreed that the Yarwun incursion has been successfully eradicated, with official declaration of eradication expected shortly.
The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has further information:
New South Wales
RIFA was detected at Port Botany, Sydney in November 2014 and has been subject to a successful nationally cost-shared eradication response.
The NMG has agreed that the Port Botany incursion has been successfully eradicated, with official declaration of eradication expected shortly.
The latest information on the RIFA eradication program at Port Botany can be found on the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.
RIFA is a notifiable pest in most Australian states and territories, which means there is a legal obligation to report suspected detections.
Anyone who suspects that they have seen RIFA or any other type of exotic invasive ants should report sightings to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. This number will put you in contact with your local department of primary industries or agriculture.
RIFA is a serious exotic pest that can inflict painful bites on people, pets and livestock. It is one of the most well studied and notorious ants in the world. The extensive damage caused to ecological and agricultural systems by RIFA is well documented.
RIFA is native to several South American countries, such as Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
Hear from people who have lived with fire ants in the United States and find out why we need to eradicate them:
Photo courtesy of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries