A NEW fire ant restricted area has been declared in Gladstone.
The area takes in Yarwun, Callemondah, Targinnie and Curtis Island, in an effort to stop the spread of fire ants.
The delcaration comes into effect today.
The area has been declared a high risk restricted area.
The area is bordered to the east by Gladstone harbour and to the south by Hanson Rd.
It extends north to Guerassimoff Rd and west to the boundary of Targinnie.
Restrictions in the area apply to the movement of soil, mulch, hay, turf, manure, green waste and materials that are a by-product of quarrying or mining.
The dangerous invasive insects were discovered at Fisherman's Landing, Yarwun, late last year, and have since been found on Curtis Island.
It's believed they arrived from the southern United States.
A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry spokesperson said earlier this year that $3.2 million has been provided for the next two-and-a-half years for eradicating fire ants in Gladstone, through the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication program.
Eradication initiatives include aerial baiting, movement restrictions and surveillance.
Fire ants in America have cost the country $7 billion. The pests have painful stings, and feed on small ground fauna such as insects, lizards, frogs, birds and mammals.
Fines for failing to comply with risk management plans to stop the spread of killer fire ants could range as high as $1 million.