The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is ready to embark on another round of surveillance in Fremantle for the destructive pest, red imported fire ant (RIFA).
The invasive ant species was discovered at two adjoining commercial properties at Fremantle Ports in November last year.
Department invertebrate pests manager John van Schagen said RIFA was a significant invasive species which, if established in WA, could severely damage the environment, agriculture and our outdoor lifestyle.
“Continued surveillance is imperative to ensure this highly invasive pest has not spread beyond the initial discovery at the port,” Mr van Schagen said.
“Our next round of surveillance begins this month, across commercial and residential areas of Fremantle.
“We thank the Fremantle community for their continued support of this activity.”
Department personnel will make contact with occupants to seek access to their premises to survey for RIFA.
This will involve a visual inspection and collection of observed ants. Personnel will carry identification cards and drive marked surveillance vehicles.
“If occupants are not home, department personnel will leave a calling card requesting they make contact to arrange an inspection,” Mr van Schagen said.
“Thanks to the vigilance of surveillance personnel, and cooperation of residents and businesses in the area, there have been no further RIFA detections outside of the initial discovery site, where several linked nests were detected and subsequently treated,” Mr van Schagen said.
A RIFA Quarantine Area (QA) remains in place, extending from Port Beach, south to the South Fremantle Dog Beach and east to East Street.
Movement restrictions within the QA prevent host material being removed without a movement permit issued by the department. Host material includes potted plants, plant mulch, bark and wood chips, hay and straw, manure, soil, grass/turf or other organic matter, machinery, equipment and shipping containers.
More information on RIFA and the department’s response can be found at agric.wa.gov.au/rifa
Suspect ant sightings should be reported to the department using its MyPestGuideTM Reporter app or online at mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au. Alternatively, contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937