Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Fire Ants.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Fire Ants."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fire Ants

2 Disclaimer This PowerPoint is for informational purposes only. If you are required to do Fire Ant Training as part of your Approved Risk Management Plan, please contact or visit our website to make a booking Attending Fire ant training conducted by a Biosecurity Queensland officer enables you to conduct on-site monitoring: before commencing a job in the Fire Ant Restricted Area follow up surveillance every 28 days Run through general house keeping rules and give an overview of the training and what it entails.

3 What are they? Invasive pest from South America ..Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina Aggressive invaders that swarm and attack when disturbed First reported in February 2001 at Port of Brisbane & Wacol/Richlands Probably been here up to 25 years before they were first reported Scientific name: Solenopsis invicta- Solenopsis meaning sun loving, invicta meaning has not been defeated (invincible), which is what they have been elsewhere around the world Originate from Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina (South America). The warm savannah and floodplains areas of the upper Amazon basin. To disturb fire ants need only be to walk beside the nest - vibration alone can set them off. They swarm in large numbers 50 plus at once First recorded in the southern USA in Mobile Alabama in 1929 The depression was in full swing, then the 2nd world war - by 1957 they realised what huge trouble they were in but by then it was too late Now there are over 140 millions hectares in 17 states infested in US – equivalent to 2/3 of Queensland – so aggressive invaders of whole states but also of your backyard First identified in Brisbane we actually had two reporting's in the same week but is was just a coincidence as the ants reported were not from the same incursion which meant we had had two lots of ants that had got through our borders. The first detection reported was in the Wacol/Richlands area and the second was at the Port of Brisbane. We estimate from the amounts of nests we had at the time that fire ants had probably been here for up to 25 years

4 Program Overview Please click here to view
National Fire Ant Eradication Program video

5 Nest structure Fire ant nests have no visible entry/exit holes
Highlight nests (in most cases) are what they will come across first. Look for no visible entry/exit Fire ants regulate the temperature of the nest for the brood, in winter nests are a lot larger as they require a larger surface area to get the sun on it and warm it up. The biggest nest so far found in Fisherman's Island is 47cm-high and 2 m wide ? Native ant nests you can usually see them going in and out the top of the nest, but with RIFA no activity on surface of nest unless disturbed. Native ant nests tend to have loose tunnels in soil, not strong honeycomb structure like RIFA which are more like a termite mound but crumbly rather than hard Fire ant nests have no visible entry/exit holes

6 Nest structure Various shapes and sizes
Unfortunately fire ants are very versatile and adaptable as to where they can establish their nests. They are not always going to be mound shaped to give you an example as to how they can vary depending on their environment/surroundings 1, RoadTek were slashing along the side of the road on Mt Lindesay HWY/Johnson Road on ramp they found a nest LxWxH and an abandoned nest a few meters away. This nest had been there for a long time there was plenty of food, no disturbance and they were able to build up a large nest and then relocate and build another large nest when they wanted to. 2, Nest on roadside/next to a kerb wouldn’t need to build very high because it is getting all the warmth it needs from the concrete so may only be 1 or 2cm high but could be 2-4m long 3, Nest on an acreage if you’ve got a ride on mower and regularly cut your grass if you ran over a fire ant nest you wouldn’t know because you wouldn’t be getting stung as they would be in the machinery. Because the nest is being regularly disturbed it is going to be constantly in transit trying to find a location with less disturbance (i.e. fence-line or garden bed) this nest is only going to be a few centimetres high and not very big because of the regular disturbance. These three scenarios are all possible and highlights how different fire ant nests can be but none of the nests would have a visible entry/exit hole regardless of shape, size, or material that the nest is established in. Various shapes and sizes

7 Nest structure Photo from Texas A&M University Highlight nests can be built up against or in and around objects that retain heat i.e. rocks, logs, sheets of metal, concrete any of these sorts of objects that you come across when conducting your surveillance must be checked Electric junction box image from America – fire ants will build nests next to electrical equipment for the heat – OH&S issue for electrical workers as well as danger of short circuits Soft sifted soil, usually mound shaped but can be found under objects that retain heat

8 Nest disturbance Short video showing the reaction of fire ants after a nest gets gently poked by a stick.

9 Restricted items Soil (includes: fill, clay, overburden, scrapings, topsoil, decomposed granite (deco) and any other material from the ground) Mulch Manure Bark Hay Pot plants/potting media Turf Sleepers/Logs Gravels Poultry Litter Photo form Texas A & M University Move nests readily if disturbed Wind assisted flights of mated queens Hundreds of km per year if human assisted As we have been going for over 10 years we have learned a lot of things as we have been going. We have identified soil as our greatest risk with 70%of detections in the last two financial years being linked to soil disturbance. It is for this reason that we have putted an added control measure, get a show of hands for people who operate with any of the soil materials and emphasise to them that if they want to take any of the soil materials outside of the RA they need to get an inspectors approval. Any of the other materials can be taken outside of the RA by following the procedures outlined in their ARMP. The figures from the US estimate that fire ants spread about 20 km per year. This would be with a number of wind assisted flights in a year. We are finding they generally only fly 1-2 km. Again different behaviour here as little evidence of mating flights on windy days – via nest observation and local distribution vs. wind patterns The biggest risk for spreading fire ants is with people The ants themselves will readily move out of their nest if it is disturbed or contaminated Hence people who try to use the wrong treatment method find they either move a colony around their property (or over to their neighbours place!) or else they make the situation worse and end up with more nests. This can happen because if there are multiple queens they may split up and each start their own new nest - hence one nest disturbed can become 5 or 10 nests very quickly. This is why we ask people not to disturb the nest but to let us undertake the treatment Most of Australia climatically suitable for fire ants – exceptions maybe deserts, and snowy mountains in winter

10 Fire ant recognition Photo from Texas A & M University Explain the size variations in the wheel of workers, living for 3-6 months - then explain the queen has a slightly different body shape with a hunch back which contains wing muscles for the mating flight and has a longer abdomen which stores the sperm and then lays the eggs. It is highly unlikely you will see a queen because once the nest is established she is underground continuously laying eggs. If the nest is overly disturbed the workers whisk the queen away to safety as her survival is the most important thing. The queen lives for 5-7 years and mates once then having enough sperm for the rest of her life. She has the ability to lay up to 1000 eggs a day which is more than some native ants do in a lifetime, it’s really easy for them to build there numbers and paired with their aggression take over areas. Alates will go on mating flights a number of times a year when conditions are right (this appears to be combination of rain, humidity and stage of colony ). The alates mate in the air and the males will fall to the ground and die. The newly mated female will go on to start a new colony. However, there is a very high attrition rate of these newly mated queens as they are vulnerable to attack by dragonflies, other ants and insects. Those that survive lose their wings and tunnel into soil etc to lay their eggs - they will never fly again. The queen will tend their eggs as they go through 4 larval and 1 pupae stage. After about a month the queen will have her first workers through the system who can then begin to look after her while she lays more eggs and build up the colony. The queen may start to produce other alates after about 6 months. Swarm and attack when disturbed Coppery-brown colour with a darker abdomen Various sizes between 2-6mm, all sizes would be present within the one nest

11 Lesion development Multiple stings from multiple ants
Fire ant stings after 5 mins Fire ant stings after 48 hours Fire ant stings cause a burning sensation (hence the name ‘fire ants’) Multiple stings from multiple ants Stings are painful and can form blisters that can take weeks to heal The more frequently you get stung the more severe your reactions Called fire ants because when they sting it feels like you’ve been burnt. Individual sting reportedly not quite as bad as a green headed ant but you don’t get individual stings from fire ants, they sting en masse and repeatedly, each can sting several times. First aid – anything to ease the burning sensation (ice, stingose etc) then keep it clean and covered to prevent damage to blisters and consequent secondary infections. Signs of an allergic reaction – hives all over (normal reaction is confined to sting sites), difficulty breathing, sweating, palpitations, swelling – monitor colleagues who have been attacked for these signs. If you have been attacked and you are on your own, call someone and let them know so they can check up on you for a delayed reaction. Can develop allergic reaction – each time you are attacked the effect can be worse, could happen a couple of dozen times then full blown anaphylaxis if you are unlucky. Maybe 1-2% of the population naturally allergic, in infested areas in the States more like 15% allergic. Allergic reaction can be mild to extreme. Fire ant stings after 1 week

12 Anaphalaxis Insert link to anaphalaxis video

13 About the sting Photo: Dr Craig Allen Texas A&M University Shows fire ant biting with it’s mandibles acting like an anchor point where they then move their tail around causing multiple stings. Grab hold with their jaws and inject venom through sting in abdomen, will then get a new grip with mandibles and sting again, either moving forward or around in a circle creating lines or crescents of stings. Examples of people dying, elderly in nursing home, ants building nest in air conditioner units taking soil in shorting out wiring and causing a house fire and then a drunk Agricultural worker from U.S. gets paid danger money for working in fire ant areas. RIFA Grab hold with their mandibles and inject venom through sting in abdomen, will then get a new grip with mandibles and sting again, either moving forward or around in a circle creating lines or crescents of stings. Highlight sting patterns straight-line and like a clock face. Imagine having ’s of ants with enough time to inflict those painful stings, would also be uncomfortable whilst healing. Babies face shows stings around eyes and nose, sting around mucous areas also common with livestock– Children and elderly particularly at risk. Link to nursing home deaths, house fires and drunk guy passes out on a nest. Secondary infection highlights need for first aid and keeping wound clean. Secondary infection from fire ant stings. In the United States, 14 million people are stung annually and there have been more than 100 reported deaths from anaphylactic shock Photo from Texas A&M University

14 Environmental seed damage alters plant distribution
Texas A & M University Wildlife and ecosystems effected seed damage alters plant distribution reduces other insect populations – domino effect endangered species impacted prevents wildlife getting near water Fire ants attacking a baby turtle Texas A & M University RIFA will have a devastating effect on the environment Competition for resources and direct predation of small animals etc will impact native wildlife i.e. Crickets eaten by birds if all killed by RIFA would be forced to seek alternative food source and could lower multiple species numbers. It is not just animals that are killed that are impacted Larger animals impacted through changes to resting / foraging behaviour to avoid stings US studies found impacts on marine turtle and alligator hatchlings via stinging while still in nest. 100% mortality in turtles! Preliminary study compared a fire ant infested area to a non infested area with very similar habitat where similar species would be expected and found the fire ant infested area had fewer species present and those that were present were in fewer numbers. RIFA is already having an environmental impact in Brisbane. Cricket Herron chick

15 Agricultural death, blindness &
Photo from Texas A & M University Animals: death, blindness & dehydration reduced nutrition & quality fire ants can kill young calves and feed on dead stock Crops: 57 commercial crops attacked in U.S damage to seeds, roots, stems, fruit & equipment deters hand labour Texas A & M University Note: These are potential impacts based on US experience as fire ants have not yet been found in agricultural areas in Australia Calves eyeball that has been stung, common in texas for calves to be born on a nest and end up dying as a result Fire ants can cause deaths of animals especially newborns and small animals. The poultry industry in the states has a lot of damage due to fire ants Fire ants like the mucous around the eyes and if grazing stock disturb a nest the ants will swarm on the face and go for the eyes and can cause blindness Estimated $300 million US cost / year in lost agricultural production in Texas, due solely to fire ants Fire ants will also damage crops through feeding on seeds, seedlings, fruit etc as well as worker safety issues. Damage to equipment from mounds and irrigation equipment Field crops at risk due to oilseed content – FA are attracted to the oil (which is why our baits have an oil component) FA will feed on other insects causing havoc with Integrated Pest Management systems and biological control programs. Rosewood example: Fire Ants had attacked the grain (sorghum) while in the milky stage( immature and still soft) , resulting in either no grain forming or deformed grain . Grain is priced and sold on a density test . The sample from this affected crop was very light , because of the large percentage of empty shells, therefore it was actually rejected by the main grain buying merchant in the area. The sample was really of quite poor quality. The farmer had to find a local dairy to take the grain at $20.00 /Tonne less than the going rate. Overall the yield off the paddock was at least 30% below expectations , but possibly as bad as 50% below expectations. They cost him quite substantially. The nests in the sorghum crop had grown into quite large mounds and were very strong in comparison to other nests located on other parts of the farm Sorghum seeds

16 Surveillance Video showing ‘emu parade’ surveillance. Teams sweep through area with a fire ant detection device (stick). Poking suspicious patches of soil and overturning rocks and logs whilst looking for RIFA

17 Suspect ants 13 25 23 What happens next?
If you suspect a nest as being fire ants report it to Biosecurity Queensland on What happens next? No restricted items are to be moved off site until nest inspected by Biosecurity Queensland staff Sample taken, if confirmed as fire ants they’ll be treated If site is infested, additional movement controls may apply What happens next? Keep staff and equipment 10m away from nest, other work may continue on site No high risk materials off site until nest inspected by BQ staff Sample taken, if confirmed as fire ants they’ll be treated (usually injection of nest with pesticide) If site is infested, additional movement controls apply. High risk materials need a BQ inspector’s approval for movement off site and must only go to sites approved for infested material Inspection, identification and treatment should take approximately 48 hours Can either call the DPI&F or send in a sample If the suspect site is within the treatment zone there may be a lower priority put on following these up as the area will be treated anyway. Outside in the buffer zones is high priority so we can find out if there are any other nests we have missed. Send sample to Fire Ant Control, Centre Diagnostics Unit PO Box 1241 Oxley 4075

18 Restricted Area Fire Ant Restricted Area map (Gladstone)
Please click here and follow the links to view the Fire Ant Restricted Area map (South East Queensland) Fire Ant Restricted Area map (Gladstone) List of suburbs found within the high and low risk restricted areas (South east Queensland) For nurseries and organisations wishing to move plants interstate please view the Interstate Plant Quarantine map (South East Queensland) view the Interstate Plant Quarantine map (Gladstone) Genetic analysis reveals there have been three different incursions of fire ants into Australia. One was discovered in the south western suburbs of Brisbane. Another was found at the Port of Brisbane and a third found in Yarwun in Central Queensland. Both the Port of Brisbane and Yarwun incursions have been successfully eradicated. It is now this western incursion that we are focused on eradicating. This map also shows the areas we have focused on for aerial surveillance (remote sensing) which will we discuss a little later.

19 Industry Restricted items
The restricted area is divided into two zones High risk area (red) Low risk area (orange) Soil* (includes: fill, clay, overburden, scrapings, topsoil, decomposed granite (deco) and any other material from the ground). Mulch Manure Bark Hay Pot plants Turf Potting media Sleeper/logs Gravels Poultry litter Movement of restricted items requires an Approved Risk Management Plan (ARMP). The requirements of your Approved Risk Management Plan (ARMP) must be followed to move these items off-site. Movement of restricted items outside the restricted area requires an Approved Risk Management Plan (ARMP). Movement of restricted items is allowed within the restricted area. The requirements of your Approved Risk Management Plan (ARMP) must be followed to move these items outside the restricted area. *Any soil will require an inspector’s approval before moving outside the restricted area. Soil includes: fill, clay, overburden, scrapings, topsoil, decomposed granite (deco), potting media and any other material from the ground Basically, if you are a commercial operator working in the high risk area, you must have an ARMP if you are moving restricted items off your site. There is an added control on soil as it remains our greatest risk – if you are moving soil OUTSIDE the restricted area, you also need an inspector’s approval. For commercial operators working in the low risk area, movement of restricted items is allowed WITHIN the restricted area, however if you want to move restricted items outside the high risk area, you need to be on an ARMP. Again, as Soil is our greatest risk, if you wish to move soil from the low risk area to OUTSIDE the restricted area, you need an inspector’s approval. Different rules apply for residence, please refer here

20 Penalties Fire Ants are a ‘notifiable pest’ under the Plant Protection Act 1989 Under the Plant Protection Act 1989, and its associated Regulations, penalties apply: Up to $22,770 for providing false or misleading information Up to $227,700 for individuals and Up to $1,138,500 for corporations moving live fire ants or breaching the control regulations What’s expected of your company Information is available from our website Penalties apply for providing false or misleading info and for moving live fire ants breaching movement controls

21 For additional resources please visit
or call

Download ppt "Fire Ants."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google