Pest ants

The most dangerous ant in the Brisbane area is the fire ant. The yellow crazy ant is another invasive species that can hurt you if they are disturbed.

Other common garden ants that may cause problems around the home include green head ants, meat ants, sugar ants and funnel ants.

Fire ants

The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) (Solenopsis invicta) is a serious pest that has been detected in Queensland. Fire ants are copper brown in colour with a darker abdomen, and look like ordinary house or garden ants.

They have a variety of sizes, from two to six millimetres in length. Their nests appear as loose soil or mounds (various sizes) with no visible entry or exit holes. This ant can be distinguished by its aggressive behaviour when their nest is disturbed. Bites can be severe.

Report them

If you believe there are fire ants at your property, phone the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) on 13 25 23. DAF will inspect your property and carry out a treatment of the nest. There is no charge for the inspection or treatment.

Find out more including fact sheets, images and a detection map on the DAF fire ants web page.

Yellow crazy ant

Yellow crazy ants have the potential to form 'super-colonies' with multiple queens, and a very high density of individual, aggressive ants.

Yellow crazy ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) are internationally considered environmental pests, and are listed in the top 100 worst invasive species in the world by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The yellow crazy ant is listed as an Invasive Biosecurity Matter - Invasive Animals in the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Yellow crazy ants don't sting, however they may spray formic acid, especially when disturbed. In large amounts, this acid may burn or irritate the skin and eyes of animals and humans. If you are sprayed with this acid, wash the affected area with water. If the acid makes contact with the eyes, wash them with cool, clean water. Seek immediate medical advice if symptoms persist or problems arise.

Yellow crazy ants are small, about five millimetres long and are yellowish tan in colour with a slender body and long antennae. They are named after their erratic walking style and frantic movements especially when disturbed.

They prefer to nest in areas with access to water or moisture such as along creek banks, under rocks, log debris, leaf litter and under covers of service access holes, such as water meters, fire hydrants and stormwater drains.

Nests may have entrances with wide, flat soil mounds above them, or they may be holes along fence lines or walls of buildings that are difficult to notice.

Yellow crazy ant management trial

There is currently a yellow crazy ant management trial being undertaken at Heilbromm Street Park in Stafford Heights surveying the surrounding Council lands to determine either the presence or absence of these ants in the local area.  Signage is in place during this time with all products used in the trial approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and administered in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. 

Report them

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014  as outlined in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area, Brisbane City Council is working to eradicate this species from the Brisbane area. If you suspect an infestation you should report it immediately to Council on 07 3403 8888, with details such as nest location, approximate number of ants sighted and your name and phone number. 

Common garden ants

Find information about some common ants you would find across the Brisbane area and how you can identify and treat them. For more information or to report an invasive ant sighting, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Common ants seen in Brisbane
TypeDescriptionTreatmentIdentifying features

Green head ant (green ant)

The green head ant is commonly called the green ant. These ants may be found in Brisbane's parks and yards. 

To treat a green ant nest in your yard, flood the nest with a suitable pesticide. More than one treatment may be required. Always use pesticides strictly in accordance with the directions on the label.

Meat ant

A meat ant is about the same size as a green head ant but is red in colour. Meat ants normally live in large colonies. If their nest is disturbed, meat ants will swarm everywhere.

Flood the nest with a suitable pesticide. Always use pesticides strictly in accordance with the directions on the label.

Sugar ant

A sugar ant is a very large gold and black ant, characterised by large colonies and nests with large entry holes. These ants are mainly active at night.

Flood the nest with a suitable pesticide. Always use pesticides strictly in accordance with the directions on the label.

Funnel ant

The funnel ant is distinguished by the mounds it makes to clear out its nest after rain. Funnel ants can often affect whole streets or suburbs.

Treat each nest entry with one litre of mixed pesticide. This ant can be quite hard to eradicate and will require more than one treatment. Always use pesticides strictly in accordance with the directions on the label.

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the assistance of Jeff Wright from the Queensland Museum for supplying photographic images of common garden ants.

Last updated: 9 May 2019

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.