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Self-management of fire ants

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program offers an option for South-East Queenslanders to self-manage fire ants.

If you cannot or do not want to wait for free treatment by the program you can:

  • purchase and spread your own fire ant bait
  • engage a pest manager to treat the fire ants.

Self-management is an integral part of the program's 10-year eradication plan. Opting to self-manage fire ants on your property or worksite gives business, industry and the public the option to suppress the pest in areas awaiting eradication treatment.

Do it yourself

Residents and industry can purchase fire ant bait from:

  • local retailers
  • pest chemical suppliers
  • online retailers (search for 'fire ant bait').

The program does not endorse any particular fire ant bait on the market.

If you opt to treat fire ants yourself, follow the instructions on the label and review the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) information.

For best results, bait treatment should occur once the ground is dry and preferably 48 hours before forecast rain.

Engage a pest manager

Some pest managers have completed fire ant specific training offered by the program and have been taught the most effective way to treat the invasive pest. These pest managers will charge you a fee for this service and we recommend you obtain a quote before proceeding. The prices charged by pest managers are not set by the program and vary greatly between companies.

Pest managers play an important role in giving property and business owners options for managing the pest on their property. They are, however, independent business owners and not attached the program. Any arrangement made are between you and the pest manager you hire, that is a commercial arrangement.

Ensure the pest manager has received the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program training.

Before treatment

  • Shop around as prices can vary.
  • A certificate of attendance is provided to the pest manager (not companies) on completion of the program's fire ant training—they will be happy to share this with you.
  • Ask what treatment method and insecticides the pest manager will use. They may apply:
    • fire ant bait – this should be an insect growth regulator (IGR) or fast-acting bait (depending on site assessment)
    • and/or
    • direct nest injection (DNI) – fipronil at a rate of 25mL per 100L is the only insecticide approved by the APVMA.

During and after treatment

  • Reporting fire ants to the program is a legal requirement under the Biosecurity Act 2014. Ask if the infestation and subsequent treatment has been reported to the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program. You can even ask for the report number which takes the form 'ANT-number'.
  • Request a copy of the job docket – this should outline what insecticides were used on your property and at what rate it was dispersed.
  • Seek advice on:
    • what to do to ensure the treatment provided has the best chance of success. This may include not disturbing the treatment area for a specific period of time
    • when to expect the ants to die and what to do if they do not.

If you have any further questions about self-management on your property or work site, phone 13 25 23.