Fire ants found on Sunshine Coast as dangerous pest continues to spread | Invasive species

Fire ants have been found on the Sunshine Coast as the super pest continues to spread beyond a containment zone in Queensland’s south-east corner.

It’s the latest in a series of so-called outlier detections of the hyper aggressive invasive species that Australia has been fighting to eradicate for decades.

Queensland farmer captures rare video of invasive fire ants building ‘large floating rafts’ – video

The latest find was made at a development site at Nirimba on Monday, the National Fire Ant Eradication Program said.

A member of the community reported two nests that have now been destroyed, and broadscale treatment is under way in the surrounding area.

Fire ant campaigners have long warned the Sunshine Coast was at risk due to patchy resourcing to attack the pest.

“This was probably inevitable,” said Reece Pianta, from the Invasive Species Council.

“It’s something we’ve been concerned about for a very long time because there were only resources to treat fire ants in effectively less than half of the outer eradication boundary.”

Earlier this year the ants were also found at Caboolture, between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

They have also been found west of the Great Dividing Range and on the islands offshore from Brisbane.

Pianta said the Nirimba find, at a site that had been prepared for development, suggested there might be a link to the movement of organic materials, like soil and turf, that can carry fire ants.

The movement of those materials is restricted but the Invasive Species Council said enforcement was crucial.

Fire ants have also recently been detected in NSW at South Murwillumbah and Wardell, south of Ballina, with those infestations stamped out. Authorities remain on high alert.

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