Western Australia has completed another successful biosecurity eradication campaign with the National Biosecurity Management Group declaring the State free of red imported fire ant (RIFA) over the weekend.
RIFA is one of the worst invasive ant pests in the world, because of its harmful effects on people, agriculture, flora and fauna, infrastructure and recreational activities.
The invasive ant pest was first detected at the Fremantle Ports in November 2019 as part of the surveillance being undertaken for the National Browsing Ant Eradication Program.
A two-year comprehensive eradication program was undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
This included six rounds of visual surveillance involving hand collection, lures, pitfall traps, and the use of specifically trained odour detection dogs from Queensland.
As part of the eradication effort more than 3500 premises, including container and ferry terminals, industrial properties, fishing wharves, parks and residential properties were inspected multiple times, with more than 14,000 samples collected for identification.
Support and co-operation from Fremantle Ports, the City of Fremantle, Town of East Fremantle, local residents and businesses during the surveillance, baiting and quarantine activities was crucial to the success of the response.
If RIFA had become established in WA, it could have severely affected WA's agriculture and horticultural industries, as well as having a significant impact on the environment and WA's outdoor lifestyle.
Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis was pleased that WA was declared free from the red imported fire ant.
"I would like to thank Fremantle Ports and the Fremantle community for supporting the response and complying with the quarantine restrictions while we undertook eradication activities to reach this fantastic outcome for WA," Ms Jarvis said.
"WA's robust early warning and surveillance system was vital in detecting RIFA so quickly, ensuring we could contain and eradicate the ant pest efficiently and effectively.
"I encourage the WA community to continue to be vigilant and if they spot any unusual animal or plant pests or diseases at work or home to report it immediately via the MyPestGuide Reporter app."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.