Australia’s leading the fight against fire ants with eight odour detection dogs being used to target the pests.
Countries including America, China and Japan are taking notice of the world-first strategy.
Samantha Kane reports.
They’re Queensland’s best hope for combating fire ants.
Dogs – trained to locate the nests by tracking the smell of fire ant pheromones.
Pieces of cloth, known as dollies, are placed in a box of live ants for 24 hours and impregnated with the ants’ pheromone.
Adam Bean, Senior Dog Handler: “They’re certainly, percentage wise, the most successful, being that they hit on one hundred percent of the nests in a particular area.”
And the high success rate is turning heads overseas.
Neil O’Brien, Director of Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre: “We’ve had interest from China, Taiwan, Japan and America in our fire ant odour detection program.”
Almost 500 fire ant colonies have been found in Queensland this financial year, up from last year’s tally of just over 300.
With the threat of ant infestation increasing, authorities have expressed an urgency to act.
Neil O’Brien, Director of Biosecurity Queensland Control Centre: “What we do know is that it’s not worth contemplating a life in Australia if fire ants remain uneradicated. We won’t enjoy our backyard, we won’t enjoy our local parks, we won’t enjoy playing football in the local paddock.”
Fire ants have posed a serious threat to Queensland since the first reported outbreak in Australia back in 2001.
Anyone who suspects fire ant activity in their backyard should contact Biosecurity Queensland on thirteen – twenty five – twenty three.
Samantha Kane, QUT News