With the detection of Fire Ants in the Brisbane area in 2001, the threat to our environment is very serious if eradication is not successful.

The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Eradication program has been a driving force in McDermott Aviation’s commitment to supplying a reliable, accurate and cost effective aerial application service to all of South East Queensland and Australian families to assist in a lifestyle without this invader. Since the start of the RIFA Eradication, McDermott Aviation have carried out a vast majority of the application area, and in a constant effort to ensure the efficacy of the operation, we continually improve our equipment and treatment techniques.

Our treatment equipment has been extensively modified to ensure reliability for the program and, coupled with the latest GPS systems, allows upload of block boundaries to ensure the correct areas are treated, and of course gives the capability of the download of treatment data to allow buffering of the areas by ground teams that were not suitable for aerial treatment.

The air-blast application equipment utilized on the RIFA eradication program has electronic sensors to monitor the application parameters including; quantity of product on-board, application ON, and Application Doors Jammed. With these sensors, it ensures the pilot is totally aware of the equipments operation at all time. With the very low rates of application – as low as 1.6kg per HA, the sensors are critical, as the small rates aren’t easily monitored visually.

The Department of Primary Industries has contracted McDermott Aviation to carry out it's entire aerial Fire Ant eradication control program which involves vast areas being aerially surveyed using world-first fire ant detection remote sensing technology in and around the Brisbane City residential area.

The remote sensing technology sensors, which are mounted underneath our helicopter, detects reflected energy in three (3) distinct frequency bands; visible, near-infrared and thermal. When a fire ant mound is detected, it exposes a ‘signature’ in the imagery due to the thermal characteristics in the way they reflect near-infrared energy.

Our company was the only operator with expertise to:

  • Design and manufacture bait application equipment to client requirements
  • Meet the ISO quality standards
  • Operate aircraft in such heavily populated residential areas
  • Operate in major controlled airspace
  • Operate in amongst environmentally sensitive areas e.g. National Parks/Marine Parks.

Due to the success of the Fire ant contract, McDermott Aviation was chosen by Christmas Islands Parks North Australia to develop and conduct Aerial Application programs for the control/eradication of the 'Crazy-ant', which was having devastating effect on the crab and wild life population on Christmas Island.