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Exotic ant gets flick after three years

Liv CasbenAAP
An exotic species of ant has been eradicated from the Port of Brisbane. (Dept. Of Primary Industries/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconAn exotic species of ant has been eradicated from the Port of Brisbane. (Dept. Of Primary Industries/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

An exotic ant has been eradicated by biosecurity officers after being detected in Brisbane three years ago.

Department of agriculture staff have exterminated the Singaporean ant known as Pheidole fervens, which they say poses a serious risk to agriculture if allowed to spread.

The department’s Chris Locke said the eradication meant going beyond managing an isolated incursion which was first found at the Port of Brisbane, to treating a population that had begun to spread.

“These exotic ants... could negatively impact our agricultural industries, natural ecosystems and our way of life,” Dr Locke said.

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A national border surveillance team discovered the ants at the Port of Brisbane in 2019, with post treatment surveillance showing no detections in the past two years.

“This means that a successful eradication can now be declared,” Dr Locke said.

“As a final precaution an additional surveillance exercise was carried out in October and November 2022.

“The news that Pheidole fervens has been successfully eradicated in Brisbane is of major importance in the battle against exotic ants as it represents the first time we’ve been able to get rid of an entire ant species after it had established a foothold.

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

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