Senior dog handler Justin Gibson and his dogs Olivia, Mikey and Willow.
Senior dog handler Justin Gibson and his dogs Olivia, Mikey and Willow. Paul Braven

Surveillance force back for fire ant detection searches

ON Wednesday the canine surveillance force will be back in Gladstone to ensure the area is fire-ant free.

Gladstone has already undergone an extensive program to eradicate the pests, but final checks are needed before June to declare the area clear.

Biosecurity Queensland is asking residents to check their own properties for any nests.

The story so far:

>> February 2015: Bait bombardment expected to wipe out fire ants

>> July 2015: Gladstone could set new record in fire ant eradication

>> July 2015: No fire ants found during recent surveillance

>> September 2015: Gladstone fire ant strategy used in other areas of the state

In July last year, fire ant program director Sarah Corcoran told The Observer after scouring a 4600ha area carefully, not one fire ant was found.

"If we can declare Yarwun free of fire ants by mid-2016, we will have achieved eradication two years faster than Gladstone's last infestation in 2006 and have set a record in invasive pest eradication," Ms Corcoran said after the search effort.

Fire ants are one of the world's worst invasive species ever to hit Australia's shores. They have the potential to ruin the Queensland way of life, affect health and have serious environmental impacts.

Fire ants are 2 to 6mm long and are coppery-brown with a darker abdomen. They are aggressive and can inflict a painful sting.

Fire ant sniffer dog:

 



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