Red imported fire ant inspections

18 Dec 2014

Please note - This news release has now been archived and may contain outdated information.

Trained inspectors will visit up to 600 homes in the Port Botany area this Saturday 20 December, as part of targeted surveillance for red imported fire ants.

Following a recent detection of the exotic ants at a port facility at Port Botany, surveillance and eradication efforts have stepped up to stop any potential spread of the ants.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Invasive Plants and Animals, Dr Andrew Sanger said while the detection is contained to the original site, extensive surveillance is necessary to ensure the ants have not spread.

"Inspectors from DPI, NSW Police Force, Rural Fire Service and NSW State Emergency Service will be inspecting front and rear yards of randomly selected properties within approximately two kilometres from the detection site," Dr Sanger said.

Properties in suburbs including Port Botany, Phillip Bay, Little Bay, Matraville, Chifley, Malabar, Pagewood and Banksmeadow will be targeted as part of the surveillance.

"There is no requirement for any indoor inspections, however inspectors will require access to backyards to look for any signs of the red imported fire ants and will be door knocking on Saturday during daylight hours," Dr Sanger said.

"All inspectors will be uniformed and will be carrying detailed information about red imported fire ants with them.

"While all known nests have now been treated, we must remain vigilant and ensure that we monitor the situation closely and check any suitable habitat carefully.

"Residents within the control area are asked to also inspect their properties and look for any small ants (2-6mm) that are reddish-brown in colour with a darker abdomen.

"The nests may look like disturbed soil or a small mound of soil with no visible entry holes."

Dr Sanger said a control order is now in place to limit movements of high-risk materials out of the two kilometre area, such as soil, mulch, manure, bark, hay, turf and gravel.

"These materials could potentially host and spread red imported fire ants and have been identified as restricted items," Dr Sanger said.

If anyone suspects red imported fire ants, they should contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Media contact: Rachel Buchanan 0477 361 732, 6391 3686