Rid Australia of its deadly fire ant menace
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Since 2001 several incursions of the highly invasive red fire ant have been found in Australia, one very close to Sydney. All but one have been eradicated. That outstanding incursion remains active, but contained, in southeast Queensland.
If we fail to fully eradicate red fire ants from Australia we face a bleak and costly future.
For a glimpse of that future take a look at the US, where fire ants first turned up in the 1930s. The highly invasive ants were not eradicated and have now spread to Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
- They now cost US industry and agriculture $7 billion a year.
- They have caused the death of 85 people, all dying from anaphylactic shock.
- Elderly people in US nursing homes have died after mass stings.
Nearly all of Australia is vulnerable to fire ant invasion, including much of the populated coastal belt. Queensland, NSW and Victoria would all be exposed to these deadly intruders if they get out of hand.
Out-of-control fire ants would threaten Australian agriculture, our natural environment and our way of life.
If they became established in Queensland it's estimated that statewide declines in native wildlife populations would be in the order of about 45% for birds, 38% for mammals, 69% for reptiles and 95% of our frogs.
Fire ant nests would make it impossible for families to spend time outside without running the risk of being stung multiple times and potentially suffering anaphylactic shock.
Unless fire ants are fully eradicated much of Australia will be put at risk by these highly invasive ants.
Experts say we need to spend between $40 and $50 million a year for the next decade to eradicate these ants. The alternative is unthinkable.
Please ensure your government does its bit to rid Australia of red fire ants.
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