How far have fire ants spread? Why are they a problem?
So far, no fire ants have been recorded in New South Wales. In Queensland, fire ant nests have been found in the south-western suburbs of Brisbane, including the Wacol/Richlands area and surrounding suburbs.
Other infested areas have been found at Fisherman Island (Port of Brisbane), Myrtletown, Banyo, Nudgee and Doonan (near Cooroy). The Doonan outbreak is a result of plant material being moved from an infested site.
See detailed maps of the insect's current distribution on the Queensland Department of Primary Industries' fire ants website.
Why are fire ants a problem?
In the USA, fire ants are estimated to cause economic losses in excess of $1 billion annually. Similar impacts are expected to occur in Australia if fire ants are not eradicated. The insects:
- inflict a painful, burning sting
- invade our backyards, parks and recreational areas
- threaten native flora and fauna
- injure domestic animals
- damage crops and equipment.
Due to the small geographic range of fire ants in Australia, only minor impacts have been observed to date.
Page last updated: 28 October 2011