Biosecurity winning against exotic ants at Brisbane port

22 March 2021

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is on track for the successful eradication of an exotic ant incursion at a first point of entry in Brisbane, following an extensive response effort.

Head of Biosecurity at the department, Andrew Tongue, said the exotic ants were identified as Pheidole fervens, which are not present in Australia and can pose a serious biosecurity risk.

“This detection and the successful response from our biosecurity officers demonstrates the real biosecurity risks we face and the effectiveness of our biosecurity system,” Mr Tongue said.

“Exotic ants, such as this species, can negatively impact Australian agricultural industries, our unique natural ecosystems and our way of life.

“The ants were detected by our Brisbane National Border Surveillance (NBS) team back in 2019 and since then a significant response program has been undertaken to manage the incursion and eradicate this species from our shores.

“The department took the lead on developing surveillance and treatment plans to guide the eradication program.

“We also worked closely with our colleagues from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as part of the response.

“The NBS team recently completed 12-month post treatment surveillance at the site where the ant was detected, with no further detections of the species.

“The department’s proactive surveillance at Australia’s borders has helped prevent this exotic species from becoming established in Australia.

“So far there is no evidence that the ant persists on site which indicates we are on track for a successful eradication.

“The information obtained from the response will also help to improve our preparedness for future incursions, by allowing us to better understand this ant species and how to best eradicate future incursions.

“We are committed to protecting Australia’s biosecurity status and our agricultural industries by minimising the entry of new pests, diseases and weeds.

“This detection and the successful response is a reminder of the biosecurity risks we face at the border and the importance of our biosecurity system.

“By working together with our state colleagues we’re safeguarding Queensland and the rest of the country from biosecurity risks.”

Import shipments may need to be treated and certified, if you are planning to import please check our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON), and if you suspect you have found exotic ants please call our See. Secure. Report. hotline on 1800 798 636.