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Scientists warn invasive red fire ants could cause widespread $45 BILLION devastation

An infestation of native South American red fire ants could swarm Queensland, destroying crops, threatening agriculture and wildlife, and causing $45billion in damage.

The aggressive and venomous ant has plagued south-east Queensland and recent detection of ants outside the biosecurity containment zone has raised fears of a permanent ant invasion.

The species is one of the world’s most invasive and destructive to have ever been introduced to Australia.

 

An infestation of native South American red fire ants (pictured) could swarm Queensland, destroying crops, threatening agriculture and wildlife, and causing $45billion in damage

An infestation of native South American red fire ants (pictured) could swarm Queensland, destroying crops, threatening agriculture and wildlife, and causing $45billion in damage

The aggressive and venomous ant may threaten natural amenity or recreational areas, camping, barbecues on the lawn, backyard cricket and outside pets

The aggressive and venomous ant may threaten natural amenity or recreational areas, camping, barbecues on the lawn, backyard cricket and outside pets

‘Fire ants attack indiscriminately,’ Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage told The Guardian.

An invasion could mean ‘potentially destroying the way of life for many Queenslanders and costing the state $45bilion over 30 years,’ Mr Armitage, said.  

‘If fire ants become permanently established, people in affected areas wouldn’t be able to enjoy our natural amenity or recreational areas. That means no camping, no barbecues on the lawn, no backyard cricket and no outside pets.’ 

The Invasive Species Council is set to release a discussion paper raising alarm at the Australian government’s handling of threats to biodiversity. 

The ant plagued south-east Queensland and recent detection of ants outside the biosecurity containment zone raised fears of a permanent ant invasion (pictured: a fire ant mound)

The ant plagued south-east Queensland and recent detection of ants outside the biosecurity containment zone raised fears of a permanent ant invasion (pictured: a fire ant mound)

Red fire ants are also destructive to agriculture, with super colonies that can consume lambs and chickens (pictured)

Red fire ants are also destructive to agriculture, with super colonies that can consume lambs and chickens (pictured)

Red fire ants are listed as a ‘key threatening process’ and a ‘threat abatement plan’ was set up on 2006. 

The ants can also cause anaphylactic shocks, which are serious allergic reactions and can cause death

The ants can also cause anaphylactic shocks, which are serious allergic reactions and can cause death

However, the report said the federal government has refused to assess or list any more invasive species as part of a ‘deliberate strategy to limit funding demands’, The Guardian reported.       

‘It’s only going to get worse as the current emerging pests spread throughout the landscape and as new ones arrive. We still haven’t turned off the tap while we’re cleaning up the mess,’ the council’s chief executive officer, Andrew Cox said. 

In 2016, Mr Cox warned that the impacts of the pest would be worse than all other feral animals combined. 

The species is one of the world's worst invasive and one of the most destructive to have ever been introduced to Australia. Odour detection dogs (pictured) can find nests undetectable to the human eye

The species is one of the world’s worst invasive and one of the most destructive to have ever been introduced to Australia. Odour detection dogs (pictured) can find nests undetectable to the human eye

‘The impacts of red fire ants if allowed to spread will exceed the combined impacts of all of our current feral animals. The cane toads, the feral cats, the wild dogs, the camels — so the impacts are enormous,’ Mr Cox told ABC. 

‘We won’t be able to walk around on our grassy lawns with thongs.

‘We won’t be able to have picnics. Our playgrounds won’t be able to be used without baiting.’

The ants can also cause anaphylactic shocks, which are serious allergic reactions and can cause death.

Red fire ants are also destructive to agriculture, with super colonies that can consume lambs and chickens.  

The ant gets its name from the burning sensation that results from its powerful sting.  

'It's only going to get worse as the current emerging pests spread throughout the landscape and as new ones arrive. We still haven't turned off the tap while we're cleaning up the mess,' the council's chief executive officer, Andrew Cox said

‘It’s only going to get worse as the current emerging pests spread throughout the landscape and as new ones arrive. We still haven’t turned off the tap while we’re cleaning up the mess,’ the council’s chief executive officer, Andrew Cox said



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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