Writings: Biosecurity Queensland leaves a fire ant nest in Cleveland, next to a primary school, unmarked: puts public safety at risk

Biosecurity Queensland has not put a warning sign on a fire ant nest in public park in Cleveland, and has not informed the primary school next door of the danger. If Biosecurity Queensland can put a warning sign on fire ant nests in Mowbray Park East Brisbane and puts warning signs in infested construction sites, Biosecurity Queensland MUST put warning signs in ALL infested public sites. 29th July 2018

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A concerned citizen sent me photographs, taken in July, of an unmarked fire ant nest in William Ross Park in Cleveland, next to Cleveland State School.

Cleveland, a bayside suburb in Redland City, has been infested with fire ants since August 2015, and is over 100km away from the current focus of Biosecurity Queensland’s next Ten Year Eradication Plan.  William Ross Park is a noted koala habitat and popular with locals: young and old.

One photo shows the nest before Biosecurity Queensland treated it: easily identified by the mound of dirt the ants have built over the nest at this time of year to absorb the heat of the sun into the nest. The photo in this blog shows the orange hazard netting Biosecurity Queensland put around the nest before and after they treated it: but no sign warning the public of the danger.

Fire ants are one of the world’s most dangerous and aggressive super-pests. They inflict multiple burning stings on anything that disturbs their nests. Small children, older people and others who use our public parks are particularly at risk. The pain of the stings can last for weeks and people allergic to their stings can die.

The citizen contacted the administrator of the Cleveland State School next door to the park to find out if they knew about the fire ant nest and the risk it posed to their young students (prep to year six) and staff. The concerned citizen was shocked to learn that no-one had alerted the school administration to the danger.

Biosecurity Queensland continues to put the safety of the public at risk by failing to put warning signs in all infested public sites and by failing to alert neighbours to the danger.

General Manager of the National Fire Ant Eradication Program, John Jordan, told Steve Austin ABC radio on 23rd July that Biosecurity Queensland is phasing out the use of flags to mark fire nests in public parks, because kids play with them, but is posting warning signs on construction sites infested with fire ants.

If Biosecurity Queensland can put warning signs in infested construction sites and put a warning sign in Mowbray Park in East Brisbane in 2017, (see link) Biosecurity Queensland MUST put warning signs in ALL infested public sites. 


Fire ants now in East Brisbane parks. Biosecurity Queensland has failed.