ROUND three of the hunt around Fremantle for the highly destructive fire ant begins this month.
Dubbed “one of the worst invasive species to reach Australia’s shores”, the Red Imported Fire Ant has been the target of eradication programs across the country since its detection in 2001.
RIFA was discovered at Fremantle Ports late last year and despite there being no further detections of the pest, the established quarantine zone remains firmly in place.
To ensure the notorious species does not set up shop and wreak havoc in WA, continued surveillance is vital and will continue for at least two years.
Department invertebrate pests manager John van Schagen said the ants pose a serious threat to the environment, agriculture and Australian outdoor living.
“RIFA is an aggressive ant species that is known to displace native ants and prey on small birds, reptiles and mammals,” he said.
“They can inflict painful stings on grazing animals such as sheep, cattle and horses. They have a tendency to colonise open spaces such as parks and gardens which could impact on outdoor activities such as picnics and BBQs.”
Almost 500 properties will be visited by department workers for a property inspection and residents are requested to respond to the calling card if not home.
Only official inspectors are allowed to move host material within the quarantine area, including but not limited to manure, soil, potted plants
and mulch. The Department instructs residents to not disturb suspected nests or ants as they may aggressively defend themselves and inflict a fiery sting. The public should contact mypestguide.agric. wa.gov.au to report any unusual activity.