Guidelines apply to the keeping of bees and are administered by Biosecurity Queensland.
Unfortunately if wild bees/wasps are located in a residential property Council does not have the resources to help.
However, If the wild bees/wasps are on a Council property/parks the Parks and Garden section may be able to help by spraying the bees/wasps or their nests with the appropriate chemical.
Who to Contact
To assist horse owners there are some paddocks available for rent for the agistment of the horses.
Owners of horses also have minimum standards and animal specific standards they must comply with. In certain circumstances approval may also be needed to keep a horse.
Council can be contacted if livestock is straying onto other peoples property or onto a road reserve.
Who to Contact
If you have a complaint regarding livestock straying onto your property or notice any livestock that has escaped a property and are roaming along or on a busy road please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800 or email
As you are aware, issues arise seasonally throughout Queensland regarding conflicts between magpies and people. This usually involves male magpies displaying territorial behaviour during the nesting time and swooping at passers by, and sometimes results in persons being struck by the bird.
Attacks from aggressive magpies can cause distress or injury to members of the public and frequently result in demands for action to remove the bird.There are various issues and responsibilities associated with magpie nesting season, which takes place annually between July and December, and peaks in August to October.Only a small percentage of male magpies act aggressively in the defence of their nest. These magpies will try to deter pedestrians and cyclists from approaching their nesting area by swooping, beating their wings, clicking their beaks and in the case of the more aggressive birds occasionally pecking. This behaviour usually occurs within 100 m of the nest and only occurs when chicks are present, and will usually last for only six to eight weeks.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) provides the following standard public information to calls it receives on how to minimise the potential for a magpie attack and to reduce the consequences of an attack taking place.There are a few techniques that can be used to avoid or minimise the chance of a magpie attack. The best is to simply avoid the territory where magpies are known to be swooping.If you must enter the area, keep the bird under constant observation as it is less likely to swoop when it is being watched. Also wear a hat or helmet or carry an umbrella. Bike riders should dismount and walk through the territory.If you are swooped, do not crouch in fear or stop. Move on quickly but do not run. Most importantly, never deliberately provoke or harass a magpie as this usually results in greater defensive behaviour.
The information includes a magpie safety flyer and poster, which may be downloaded and printed. DEHP (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services Division) also has copies of the flyers available for distribution.
Should you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) on 4796 7777
Magpie Nesting Season – Magpies and people living together
Our Suburban Home
Because magpies are adapted to open environments, and find their food on the ground, they love living in town. There are vast areas of lawns for foraging, scattered trees for nesting and plenty of food and water. Even though they get used to seeing people around, they are still wild animals, defending their territories from other magpies and keeping real and would-be predators away from their precious nests.
Protecting their babies
Most magpies accept the presence of people in their territories and that we are not competitors or dangerous predators. A few birds, however, become convinced that some people are a threat to their chicks and attempt to scare them away from the vicinity of the nest. Usually this is a small area (the ‘defence zone’, about 100 metres radius) around the tree containing the nest, although it may be a wider area when cyclists are involved.
Keep away! The magpies “Defence Zone’
Magpie swooping is almost entirely limited to the ‘defence zone’. Swooping lasts only while there are chicks in the nest (about six weeks), and is launched by the male. His aim is to drive the intruder away from the nest, not to cause injury. If you leave the area quickly, the bird almost always stops swooping.
Magpies are specialists
We now know that most magpies that swoop people are strict specialists. Some are threatened only by pedestrians and others only by cyclists. The few magpies that swoop anyone are usually nesting near a concentration of people (especially schools), where harassment by people (especially children) has probably occurred.
They know their neighbours
Magpies specialising in pedestrians are the commonest sort. Latest research shows they usually target a small number of people known to them. This means that these magpies recognise people and for some reason see these individuals as potential threats to their chicks. These unfortunate people account for a large proportion of the attacks that occur.
Cyclists should dismount
In contrast, the magpies that swoop cyclists will target anyone riding past. It’s not known why these particular birds start swooping bikes bit the research shows they are responding mainly to movement: stopping, dismounting and walking away will instantly stop the swooping.
The latest research has also confirmed that the best way to avoid being swooped is to avoid places where aggressive magpies are nesting. if that is difficult, protect your head with a good hat or umbrella. And never harass the bird: that only ensures an even worse attack next time.
When action is needed
Of course some magpies may be difficult to avoid, or are so aggressive that serious injuries can occur. In these cases, magpies may be relocated away from people. However, these birds are rare.
Council will if neccessary arrange to get a caller bird down from QPWS and trap the offending bird. This bird will then be relocated.
In most cases, it is best to learn to co-exist for the breeding period of about six weeks and take some simple precautions.
Who to Contact
For further information on living safely with magpies please call Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services on 4796 7777.
Additional information regarding magpies and how to live safely with them can be found on the DEHP website.
Council can provide you with a contact if you are having trouble with meat ants on your property.
Who to Contact
If you have discovered meat ants on your property please contact the Department of Primary Industries who are located at the Research Station on Giddy Road, Ayr. The contact number for the DPI is 4720 5100.
Each year the Council receives numerous calls for help to remove brushtail possums.
The brushtail possum is protected in Queensland and a permit is required to trap or remove an animal.
Here is some advice on ways to solve the problem of brushtail possums sheltering in houses to help the householder to avoid harming the animals.
Brushtails or Rats?
Is noise in the ceiling a possum? About one-third of calls prove to be about introduced rats, which are declared pests. Sometimes both animals are involved and separate actions are required.
A black bushy tail, large erect ears and a silver-grey coat make the cat-sized brushtail possum easy to recognise.
If the creatures have not been seen, they can be identified from the noises they make. Scratching, chewing and ‘skittering’ noises are made by rats. Rats also collect and store macadamia nuts; brushtail possums do not.
Brushtail possums make loud, heavy, thumping sounds when they walk on flat surfaces. They also make guttural growls, loud hissing and coughing noises warning other brushtail possums to keep away.
If you have rats you will have to contact your local pest control operator to remove them.
Catching the animal and releasing it some distance away never works – not because the possum finds its way back but because it is replaced by another from nearby. Simply removing possums could go on forever.
Animals that have been removed usually face a slow death. The release area might be unsuitable for brushtails or may be occupied by another brushtail, which will defend its territory vigorously. Conflict between the two for food and shelter usually means the released brushtail dies.
While people object to possums living in ceilings or between floors, most wish them no harm. Since the possum’s chances of survival are best in its own territory, the following strategy is suggested.
- Find out where the possum is getting in and out. (More than one place may be involved). The most effective method is to cram loose wads of waste paper into all suspected access points during the daytime. After dark, a residential brushtail possum will push out the paper wads to leave the den.
- Make repairs to prevent entry. This can be done on a fine night between 8pm and 10pm when the possum is outside feeding.
- Repairs must be sound as a brushtail possum is quite strong and will work hard to re-enter the shelter site. If the animal has been trapped inside, its noisy attempts to escape will alert you. Baby possums always ride in the mothers pouch or on her back.
- Alternatively, repairs can be done during the day. The possum must then be trapped inside the ceiling that night and simply released outside. As several possums could occupy the ceiling, trap until no more are caught. Use sliced apple with a dash of vanilla as bait.
- Splash the old entry areas liberally with a strong smelling substance such as disinfectant. The brushtail possum uses scent to mark its territory and entrances to its den. Failure to destroy the scent often results in continued disturbance as the possum tries to re-enter the den.
- Seal the entry points
- Hang wooden boxes or hollow logs in trees nearby to provide the animal with other places to create a den.
Some householders find they cannot solve the problem themselves. Many pest controllers are experienced in removing brushtail possums are licenced to use harmless traps.
The Council or Queensland Parks and Wildlife DO NOT supply traps.
Please remember that if buildings are maintained in good repair, brushtail possums will be denied access and potential problems avoided.
Who to Contact
For more information and advice please contact:
Queensland Parks and Wildlife
P O Box 5597, TOWNSVILLE, QLD, 4810
Phone: 4796 7777
The redback spider is one of Australia’s most recognisable species and they are commonly found in habitats ranging from bushland to urban areas.
Description of Redback Spider
Redback spiders, Latrodectus hasselti, are almost too familiar to need description.
Mature female redbacks are jet black spiders with a variable red stripe on the back of their spherical abdomen.
Their tough, untidy webs are usually near the ground with the spider hiding in a shelter tucked in a corner, often guarding her round woolly egg sacs.
Immature females are smaller, usually brown with whitish markings.
Male redback spiders are rarely seen. They are small and brown with red and white markings.
Redback spiders are found throughout Australia, in drier habitats and built-up areas. They are often common in dry places around buildings, outdoor furniture, machinery and stacked materials.
In the bush, redback spiders nest under logs and rocks. There is some evidence to suggest that redbacks are not native to Australia.
Redback spider bites usually occur when part of the body comes in direct contact with the spider or its web.
Life history of Redback Spider
Redback spiders feed mainly on ground-living insects that blunder into their webs, but small vertebrates such as lizards and even mice can fall victim.
Also eaten – after mating – are the tiny male redbacks.
A female redback spider can produce eggs for up to two years after a single mating. Eggs are enclosed in 3-5 dirty-white, woolly, spherical egg sacs suspended in the retreat of the web and guarded by the female.
Spiderlings emerge after about 14 days and disperse on the wind as soon as conditions are right. This is how redback spiders turn up in new places or quickly recolonise areas from which they have previously been removed.
Pest status and management
Redback spiders are not aggressive, and rarely leave the web. However caution is advised as their bite is very poisonous and potentially fatal for children or the elderly.
After a bite, the onset of pain may be delayed for five minutes then increase in intensity. Subsequent symptoms vary but have included:
- abdominal or generalised pain
- muscle spasm
Anyone bitten by a redback spider should seek medical attention.
Do not bandage the bite but apply iced water and take simple painkillers.
An antivenene is available and very effective.
Manage redback spiders by learning to recognise their webs and the kinds of places they live.
In places where they might be a hazard, destroy the spiders as you find them. Poke a stick into the retreat to squash or remove the spider, and destroy any egg sacs. Take care not to be bitten.
Fumigation has only temporary effects on redback spider numbers and kills its natural enemies.
Who to Contact
If you notice redbacks or redback nests on any Council property please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre or (07) 4783 9800 or email
Council staff are not trained to handle or remove snakes. However, there is a local certified snake handler, Dennis Watt who may be of assistance.
Dennis can only assist if the snake is in the house. If the snake is in its natural environment in most cases it will move on if left alone.
For assistance in identification of snakes the following information on Australian Snakes which is found on the Queensland Government Environment and Resource Management website may be of use.
Dennis offers this service free of charge. Bare in mind that he has a full time job and he may not be able to go out straight away.
Who to Contact
Dennis Watt is certified to handle/remove snakes and is happy to help out upon request. His contact numbers are (07) 4783 3506 or mobile 0412 818 916.