Biosecurity team wipes out last fire ant nest... hopefully
BIOSECURITY experts hope that as of Thursday, the last fire ant nest in the Gladstone region has been destroyed.
A pest control team from Biosecurity Queensland was on-site on Thursday to flush out the last of the 60 colonies found across five sites in the 2km core infestation area at Fisherman's Landing, but the search for more sites and colonies is not yet over.
"We have our fingers crossed, and we're hoping that this is the last nest that we destroy and the infestation here at Yarwun is actually isolated to the Fisherman's Landing Zone," Biosecurity Queensland's Anthony Wright said.
Biosecurity Queensland set up a 2km core zone from the original point of infestation detected late last year, but the organisation is keeping an eye on a broader 6km zone, including Curtis Island.
Last month an infestation of the QCLNG site was confirmed, and Biosecurity Queensland said the infestation had been wiped out.
It is not yet known how the ants made their way to Curtis Island, but Mr Wright said it could come down to a couple of possibilities.
"It does make sense that the fire ants ended up on Curtis Island as a lot of machinery does leave Fisherman's Landing for the island," Mr Wright said.
"They can also fly, so it's possible that they flew there.
"The great thing is that the companies who use that area have stepped up their processes, and more importantly training of staff since the outbreak, which means there's less likelihood of it happening in the future."
He said while the last known infestation was now wiped out, it was too early to say whether the fire ant saga was over, with biosecurity teams to continue a sweep within the 6km area until the end of February to determine whether any new sites had cropped up.
"I dare say a couple of months down the track we'll be able to say definitively whether this infestation has been wiped out or not."
How you can help:
- Look out for nests.
- Be aware fire ants will swarm.
- Report sightings to 132 523.