Byron Shire Council and NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) are urging the public to keep an eye out for Red Imported Fire Ants after they were detected in Murwillumbah over the weekend.
The ants are a highly invasive species that can cause great harm to people with their sting.
A Fire Ant Movement Control Area is in place within a five kilometre radius of the nests found in South Murwillumbah. An Emergency Order was issued by NSW DPI earlier this year.
“The fire ants were detected over the weekend in Murwillumbah. It is crucial that the public follow the guidelines set out by NSW DPI,” said Council Biodiversity Projects Officer, Claudia Caliari.
“This means not moving fire ant carrier material such as mulch, soil, hay, turf, and other high-risk material from the area.
“We are also urging the public to keep an eye out for Red Imported Fire Ants,” she said.
NSW DPI recently provided training to Council staff, so that they know what to do and what to look for, if they are procuring any material from near where the ants have been detected.
Red Imported Fire Ants are described as being two to six millimetres long, dark reddish-brown in colour and have a darker brown-black abdomen.
Further information about the species and what to do when moving these materials can be found on NSW DPI’s website.
If you suspect you have found the species, you can inform NSW DPI via an online form or by phoning the Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244.