Speaking up about fire ants

Thomas Brook
Thomas Brook

A DAIRY farmer at Boyland got government help with baiting fire ants when he went public about the issue but says there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

The day after Thomas Brook spoke out in the Queensland Country Life in February, he got an offer of help from the Queensland Government’s Fire Ant Suppression Taskforce.

They dropped off 11kg of poison and Thomas poisons and reports every nest.

Cafe Metz

When the Bulletin interviewed Thomas, he had poisoned 40 nests in one day alone. 

Thomas said fire ants first showed up on the farm in 2019 and he had shelled out thousands of dollars and about five hours a week on poisoning nests since.

He said he appreciated the government’s help but did not see any end in sight.

“We’ve just included fire ant management in our day-to-day jobs now and I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of them. Now we’re starting to do our cropping and I’m a bit concerned where we have cows in rotational grazing and they’re going to want to lay down and I want the paddocks to be clean where they are. It’s about the welfare of our cows,” he said.

“When you’re trying to run a business and have a life at the same time the last thing you want to be doing is killing ants.”

Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause also spoke out about the issue in parliament on March 7.

“Fire ants are a massive security risk, and this government has failed completely in its job to eradicate the ants,” he claimed.

“They continue spreading despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent, yet there is still no sign of eradication.

“People in the Scenic Rim electorate have been on the front line of this battle for years and years, and they are telling me that the program needs to change because it is failing.

“We all know that landholders look after their land better than any other person, so the government should be supplying, utilising funding from the program, bait to residents and landholders and especially farmers, turf growers and larger lot holders so that they can treat the ants themselves.”