Red imported fire ant: declared pest in Western Australia

Page last updated: Saturday, 21 October 2023 - 10:27am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Eradication from Australia

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program formally commenced in September 2001, building on an emergency response after its discovery in February 2001. The program is funded by all Australian states and territories as well as the Commonwealth Government.

The program aims to eradicate this pest, building on expertise shared by international specialists. It is discovering patterns of ant activity and developing new ways to beat them as new challenges arise.

As well as scientific and operational innovation and effort, community support is crucial in the fight to eliminate fire ants from Australia. Following the 2019 detection at Fremantle, the support and co-operation from the Fremantle Port and their tenants, the City of Fremantle, Town of East Fremantle, local residents and businesses during the surveillance, baiting and quarantine activities has been crucial to the success of the response.



Please report any unfamiliar ants immediately – even if unsure.

Do not disturb ants as they may aggressively defend the nest.

Suspected RIFA are:

  • small, golden to reddish brown ants 2-6mm long
  • very aggressive when disturbed
  • able to inflict painful stings (pustule formation at sting sites blisters) and sting repeatedly.

Suspected RIFA mounds would be:

  • multiple ant mounds in urban or developed areas
  • up to 40cm high and generally dome-shaped
  • absence of entry and exit holes.

Take photographs if safe to do so. 

Contact the department via:


Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080