Mulch management in fire ant biosecurity zones

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 prescribes procedures and management techniques that you must follow when storing and moving mulch from a property within a fire ant biosecurity zone.

You must follow these management techniques (outlined below), unless:

  • the material is moved directly to a waste facility (zone restrictions apply)
  • or
  • the material has been at the property for less than 24 hours.

If you are unable to comply with these conditions then you must request a biosecurity instrument permit from an inspector.

Management techniques

The appropriate storage of mulch will reduce the risk of infestation by fire ants.

Storage of mulch

If the mulch will remain on the property for over 24 hours it must be covered and stored either on or off the ground.

On-ground storage and treatment

On-ground storage must be on either:

  • concrete or bitumen, that does not contain cracks
  • a barrier that cannot be penetrated by fire ants e.g. 200 micron unperforated plastic sheeting
  • or
  • an area of compacted ground, other than sand, that has been treated with an appropriate chemical product before storage.

Treatment is required around the storage area by applying a 30cm wide strip of appropriate perimeter treatment.

Appropriate chemical product

Use an insecticide containing 500g/L chlorpyrifos or 80g/L bifenthrin. Keep the treated area free of material that could form an untreated 'bridge' to the mulch.

Refer to Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) permit numbers PER14718 (expires 30 June 2019) and PER14317 (expires 31 December 2021) for insecticides registered as a horizontal or perimeter barrier for fire ants.

You can search for permits on the APVMA website.

All use of insecticides must be in accordance with the conditions of the permit and in conjunction with the product's label.

Keeping a record

A written record is to be kept of the steps taken to ensure the mulch is stored correctly, including chemical treatment records.

For further information contact a Biosecurity Queensland inspector on 13 25 23

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