Red imported fire ant

As part of a nation-wide surveillance and awareness program, residents need to be on the lookout for a serious new pest that has been detected in Queensland - the red imported fire ant.

These nasty pests are destructive to the environment and have the potential to destroy agricultural production. So far, fire ants are confined to a small area in south east Queensland where the Department of Primary Industries is working to eradicate them. The national program is being overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

To date, there has not been any suspect detection's of this ant in the ACT.

Fire ants look much like ordinary house or garden ants. They are small, reddish-brown in colour on the head and body, with a darker abdomen, and come in a variety of sizes within one nest, ranging from 2mm to 6mm. This is a distinguishing feature of fire ants.

Their nests look like dome-shaped mounds up to 40cm high. Mounds will not always be evident, but are usually found in open areas such as lawns, pastures and along roadsides. Fire ants can cause a nasty sting, which causes a small blister to form at the site of each sting after several hours.

If you think you have seen one of these ants or ants nests, do not disturb or touch them. Contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81 during business hours.

For assistance identifying an ant please call 02 6258 5551.