About

Fire ants in northern NSW for the first time

Share
Fire ants have been found in northern NSW for the first time, triggering a national response plan to control and eradicate ants in the area.
fire ants northern nsw

Authorities detected fire ants in northern NSW for the first time, triggering a national response plan to control and eradicate ants in the area.

The insects can cause painful stings and kill native plants and animals.

Federal, state and local governments are now working to contain the spread of ants moving south from QLD.

What are fire ants

Fire ants are aggressive insects known for their extremely painful sting. They’re around 2-6 millimetres long.

It’s likely fire ants first came to Australia in shipping containers from the U.S. before being found in Brisbane in 2001.

They’re mostly concentrated in southeast QLD. Anyone who spots fire ants in QLD is legally required to report the sighting within 24 hours.

Northern NSW fire ant infestation

Three fire ant nests have been found 13 kilometres south of the NSW-QLD border. It’s believed to be the furthest south fire ants from the QLD infestation have ever been found.

The nests are being eradicated across each of the NSW sites and detection dogs are being used to search for any other nests.

It’s not the first time fire ants have been found in NSW — a 2014 Sydney outbreak was eradicated by 2016.

Earlier concerns

Fire ants were discovered less than six kilometres from the NSW border in July. At the time, Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty said fire ants in NSW would have a “huge impact” on local lives and the state exports.

It triggered prevention measures from the NSW Government to limit the spread of fire ants. This included transport restrictions on high-risk materials like soil and mulch. These measures will continue after the discovery of fire ant nests in NSW.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.