Red imported fire ants in South Murwillumbah update

28 Nov 2023

Following the eradication of the five red imported fire ants nests at South Murwillumbah on the weekend, the NSW Government has been further implementing its fire ant plan by focusing on tracing, surveillance and educating local businesses and the community.

Detection dogs have been on location today inspecting local high-risk premises that are linked to materials that red imported fire ants like to nest and travel in such as soil, mulch, quarry products, potted plants and baled materials.

The on-ground teams from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have also been in communication with those businesses within the 5 kilometre biosecurity control zone advising them of their biosecurity obligations under the emergency order.

The Government is working with businesses to facilitate low-risk businesses to get back to normal as soon as possible. While assisting the high-risk businesses in evaluating their premises and materials so they can also get permits to start moving, with a strong understanding on how to do activities safely and eliminating any risks.

The NSW Government is working closely with the Tweed Shire Council and the National Program that is led by Queensland, to ensure we’re keeping the community and key stakeholders updated and applying all available resources to the area.

A community information bus is now outside Tweed Shire Council Chambers (10-14 Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah) for locals to obtain more information about what they can do to help stop the spread of these invasive pests.

I urge everyone in the local area to check their premises, yards and paddocks for the red imported fire ants and then reporting any suspected sighting immediately.

Residents and businesses can report any suspicious ant activity to 1800 680 244 or by visiting


Fire ants are dark reddish-brown with a darker black-brown abdomen and range in size from two to six millimetres long.

Although they can look similar to other ants, their ant nests are distinctive with mounds of loose, crumbly or fluffy looking soil with a honeycomb appearance, up to 40 centimetres high, with no obvious entrance holes.

Red imported fire ants can damage electrical and agricultural equipment, sting people causing allergic reactions, sting pets and livestock, kill native plants and animals, and also damage ecosystems beyond repair.

MEDIA: Alastair Walton | Minister Moriarty | 0418 251 229

Images credited to Department of Regional NSW available here