Red Imported Fire Ants are a pest found in various areas in Queensland. They are known for their painful sting and aggressive nature. These ants are particularly dangerous to those with allergies because they have strong venom and can hold on with their mandibles while stinging repeatedly. If a nest is disturbed, thousands of ants usually respond and attack whatever is posing a threat by latching on and stinging.
Red Imported Fire Ants are native to South America and have become pests in the southern United States, Australia, the Caribbean, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and some southern Chinese provinces.
Fire Ants were unknowingly imported into Brisbane several years ago and were found in 2001. Upon detection, various eradication procedures have been put in place by the Queensland Government. A list of high risk and low risk Queensland areas can be found on the Queensland Government website. Be aware of recent sightings of Fire Ants outside of Queensland, particularly in New South Wales.
Fire ants are a reddish-brown colour with a darker abdomen. They range in size between 2mm – 6mm and their nests often contain a variety of ant sizes. Fire ant nests often look like a mound of dirt and are sometimes found under or around rocks, logs or in open areas such as parks, football fields and peoples backyards. These nests don’t have visible entry or exit holes.
If you are prone to anaphylaxis you should avoid areas that are known for having fire ants. If you are stung by a Fire Ant, you should respond by following the below steps:
If you suspect someone is having an anaphylactic reaction after being stung by a fire ant, you should:
For more information about anaphylaxis first aid management read Guideline 9.2.7 by Australian Resuscitation Council.
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