New fears of fire ant spread

Why are fire ants dangerous? A warning has been issued amid fears of a new spread of fire ants in northern NSW and southeast Queensland.
Why are fire ants dangerous? 

A new warning has been issued amid concerns of a rapid spread of fire ants in northern NSW and southeast Queensland.

Recent heavy rainfall in the region has raised concerns about the species spreading through floating ant-rafts.

Fire ants are aggressive insects that cause an extremely painful sensation when they sting.

Why are fire ants dangerous?

Fire ants are an invasive species native to South America. They are small (2-6 millimetres), but use their sting to kill larger animals, and can also destroy agriculture and local plant populations.

Between 2001 and 2018 there were eight recorded fire ant infestations in Australia. The current outbreak is linked to an arrival in southeast QLD in 2001 which has since spread over 600,000 hectares.

The spread

New warnings about a fire ant spread were issued by the Invasive Species Council on Tuesday. Anyone near the NSW-Queensland border is urged to stay alert for fire ants, amid wet weather in the area.

Fire ants can form floating rafts after a storm to spread to different areas.

The ISC shared footage of fire ant rafts near the Gold Coast this month, which it believes could spread to other areas.

Fire ants are easier to spot after wet weather and as rafts. They’re often found in backyards, beaches and bushland.

The ISC has asked any person who spots a fire ant to take a picture and report it. Fire ants seen in QLD can be reported on 13 25 13, and on 1800 680 244 in NSW.

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