Writings: Biosecurity Queensland puts kids in Loganholme at risk of fire ant stings

A kids’ jumping castle was erected on a fire ant nest in a park in Loganholme because Biosecurity Queensland does not put signs on fire ant nests to warn the public of the dangers. There has been a lot of property development in Loganholme, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, recent years. It likely became infected in 2014 because Biosecurity Queensland puts no control on the movement of fire ant carriers like soil and mulch into areas of development. Fire ant program General Manager says it is OK to put warning signs on fire ant nests on construction sites, but not in public parks because ‘the kids play with them.’ That is irresponsible and unacceptable. 24 August 2018

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A concerned citizen recently took this photo of a kids jumping castle erected on top of a fire ant nest, and close to other fire ant nests, in Alexander Clark Park in Loganholme. None of the nests had signs to warn families of the danger.

Alexander Clark Park, on the banks of the Logan River, has picnic grounds, barbeque facilities, walking tracks, sporting facilities and off-leash areas for dogs. The Logan City Council describes the park as ‘perfect for a family day out.’ But Biosecurity Queensland puts families, especially young children, who are most vulnerable, at real risk of severe, burning fire ant stings by failing to post warning signs.

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. The pain of the stings can last for weeks and people allergic to their stings can die.

Loganholme is a suburb within the city of Logan, between Brisbane and Gold Coast City, in south-east Queensland. Biosecurity Queensland has listed Loganholme a ‘High Risk Restricted Area’ since November 2014.  Loganholme is bisected by both the Pacific Motorway and the Logan Motorway and been the site of a lot of property development in recent years to accommodate new commercial and industrial enterprises and an increasing population.  Loganholme likely became infested because Biosecurity Queensland does nothing to control the movement of potential fire ant carriers, like soil and mulch, into areas of development. Biosecurity Queensland should have baited Loganholme for fire ants at least a dozen times since November 2014. If it has, it is obvious that Biosecurity Queensland’s fire ant treatment does not work.

There can be no excuse for leaving fire ant nests, especially those in public areas, unmarked, and putting the public at risk.  John Jordan, General Manager of the fire ant program, told ABC radio in July that Biosecurity Queensland puts warning signs on nests on construction sites but not in public parks, ‘because kids play with them.’ If Biosecurity Queensland can put a substantial warning sign on fire ant nests in Mowbray Park in East Brisbane in 2017 it is irresponsible and unacceptable not to put warning signs on fire ant nests in all other public places.