Fire ant infested parts of south-east Queensland – Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Redland and Gold Coast cities and the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Moreton Bay regions – have been drenched with flooding rains that will spread this flood-adapted pest.
Fire ants are well adapted to floods. They probably arrived in south-east Queensland sometime in the 1990s, via cargo from the USA, but they originally came from the flood plains of central and southern South America where they adapted to regular flooding. Fire ants have a waxy exterior that allows them to build a living raft by linking their legs together. They then float to a new, dry location and re-build their nest.
Biosecurity Queensland’s plan for containing or eradicating a flood adapted pest in flood prone areas of south-east Queensland is a joke. They tell residents not to water their property after it has been treated but send out helicopters to bait flood-soaked country.
Biosecurity Queensland has spent $700m of public money over 21 years with the result fire ants now infest over 650,000ha of south-east Queensland, up from 40,000ha in 2002 and will spread even further on flood waters.
Time for a Royal Commission to hold those responsible for one of Australia’s worst biosecurity disasters to account.
6th March 2022