In February, the Fassifern Guardian and Tribune reported a fire ant nest on a crayfish farm in Tarome, on the cusp of spreading beyond the Great Dividing Range. Biosecurity Queensland had not reported that infestation to the public.
Tarome, in the Scenic Rim Region of south-east Queensland, is about an hour south of Brisbane and an hour inland from the Gold Coast. It’s located at the foot of the Great Dividing Range and is a few kilometres from the Main Range National Park. The Fassifern Guardian and Tribune said the spread of fire ants into Tarome was a ‘worst nightmare scenario.’
Biosecurity Queensland said it didn’t know how the fire ants got there. It was inevitable that Tarome would become infested. It borders Moorang and Frazerview in the Scenic Rim Region and Townson in the Lockyer Valley which are already infested with fire ants. Biosecurity Queensland said the nest was only 16 kilometres from the nearest known nest. Young fire ant queens can fly 5km on their own to find a nesting site and up to 30km with the wind behind them.
Biosecurity Queensland treated the nest with boiling water because fire ant baits are toxic to fish and invertebrate aquatic life, said the detection dogs had not found any other nests on the property and said they would survey 2km out from the nest to ensure there was no more.
In April, three more fire ant infestations were found in Tarome – one was beside the Tarome Road, halfway between Aratula and Rosevale. Biosecurity Queensland confirmed it was only 1.2km from the nest on the cray-farm and related to it – proving Biosecurity Queensland’s treatment on the cray-fish farm and surveillance work around it, did not work.
Biosecurity Queensland is saying it has treated the infestation on the Tarome Road and is conducting surveillance it. Who would believe that’s going to work? Biosecurity Queensland’s incompetence means it’s inevitable fire ants will spread beyond the Great Dividing Range.
Time for a Royal Commission to hold the Chair of the program’s Steering Committee to account for an out of control fire ant infestation spreading through south-east Queensland.
10th May 2021