The RIFA eradication program is continuing. It uses a low-toxic bait treatment consisting of coarsely-ground corn soaked in soybean oil and an insect growth regulator (IGR), either S-methoprene or pyriproxyfen. The bait is applied by broadcasting it over an area using about a teaspoon per square metre. Worker ants take bait granules back to the nest, where they are passed among other ants and fed to the queen. These baits do not kill the ants but sterilise the queen and stop the larvae from developing. The worker ants are not replaced and the colony dies out.
Surveillance is ongoing; and treatment and containment measures are continuing in areas where RIFA have been detected. Under Queensland legislation, fire ants are a notifiable pest and suspected sightings must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland. Recently most nests detected are monogyne (single queen nests).
Once discovered and analysed, nests are totally destroyed. Community support for the program is high. Remote sensing is being trialled as an additional detection mechanism. The trials involve helicopter flights over properties with known RIFA infestations to capture images (including thermal and multi spectral imagery); colonies have a heat signature which can be detected through thermal imaging in comparison to the normal ground temperature. Multi spectral analysis should then be able to separate fire ant nests from nests of other ant species, or false alarms like mounds of dead grass.
Surveillance in other parts of Australia has not detected the pest.