COMMUNITY members mulling over a box of live red fire ants were shocked at how small the killer critters were, reiterating Biosecurity Queensland's message to be on the lookout around Gladstone.
Surveillance is being carried out in the Yarwun and Curtis Island areas across a 5km radius following the reporting of an infestation three weeks ago.
Biosecurity Queensland community engagement manager Anthony Wright said they were more likely to spread to other areas through human-assisted movement, with heavy equipment movements a big risk.
He also said people should be aware how dangerous the ant's bites were, with more than 100 reported deaths from anaphylactic shock in the United State in the past year.
More than 20 community members attended the public forum on fire ants on Wednesday night at CQ University, where biosecurity officers spoke about the steps undertaken so far in Yarwun, and how people could help.
As a precaution, the Gladstone Ports Corporation, owners of Fisherman's Landing, and its users have been trained for fire ant detection and are under strict orders when moving anything containing soil.
Mr Wright said people were being asked to:
- Be on the lookout for nests, which don't have visible entry/exit holes.
- Be aware the fire ants are erratic and will swarm.
- Report the sighting to 13 25 23.