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Fire ants found again outside Qld containment zone

Tracey FerrierAAP
Two fire ant nests were detected at a development site at Nirimba on Qld's Sunshine coast. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconTwo fire ant nests were detected at a development site at Nirimba on Qld's Sunshine coast. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Fire ants have been found on the Sunshine Coast as the super pest continues to spread beyond a containment zone in Queensland’s south east corner.

It’s the latest in a series of so-called outlier detections of the hyper aggressive invasive species that Australia has been fighting to eradicate for decades.

The latest find was made at a development site at Nirimba on Monday, the National Fire Ant Eradication Program says.

A member of the community reported two nests that have now been destroyed, and broadscale treatment is underway in the surrounding area.

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Fire ant campaigners have long warned the Sunshine Coast was at risk due to patchy resourcing to attack the pest.

“This was probably inevitable,” says Reece Pianta, from the Invasive Species Council.

“It’s something we’ve been concerned about for a very long time because there were only resources to treat fire ants in effectively less than half of the outer eradication boundary.”

Earlier this year the ants were also found at Caboolture, between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

They’ve also been found west of the Great Dividing Range and on the islands offshore from Brisbane.

Mr Pianta says the Nirimba find, at a site that’s been prepared for development, suggests there might be a link to the movement of organic materials, like soil and turf, that can carry fire ants.

The movement of those materials is restricted but the Invasive Species Council says enforcement is crucial.

Fire ants have also recently been detected in NSW at South Murwillumbah and Wardell, south of Ballina, with those infestations stamped out. Authorities remain on high alert.

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