ANGAIR is a member of the Invasive Species Council, which is a national environmental group that is putting pressure on governments to eradicate Red Fire Ants.

Red Fire Ants come from South America, arriving in Australia in 2001. There is one large outbreak in Queensland’s Wet Tropics rainforest roughly the size of the Australian Capital Territory, which is contained but active. They have the potential to invade down the east coast to Victoria.

When Red Fire Ants are disturbed they rise up in their thousands to swarm and sting the intruder. In the US they have caused the death of 80 people from anaphylactic shock. They render outdoor lawns, parks and backyards unusable. When the acid-spraying ants form super colonies they kill all insect life, small birds, lizards and mammals. Fire Ants kill newborn calves and lambs and ring dams so stock can’t get to the water.

Experts say we need $400 to $500 million over the next decade to get rid of Fire Ants. State and Federal governments will be considering funding later in the year but there are concerns funding will be inadequate. Governments need to commit to eradicate this ant. Further information can be found at www.invasives.org.au.

Carl Rayner

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