The Wet Tropics Management Authority has appointed a sugarcane industry engagement officer to assist canegrowers to eradicate yellow crazy ants south of Cairns.
Wesley Moller brings 30 years of cane industry experience to the Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program. He will provide a primary contact point for the cane industry to bolster ongoing eradication efforts.
Forty percent of the total yellow crazy ant infestation area exists within sugarcane.
In addition to posing a threat to the neighbouring Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the pest farms whitefly and other sap-sucking insects, which can reduce sugarcane crop yields.
Project manager, Lucy Karger, said Mr Moller’s appointment would build on the Authority’s recent work with industry, which includes training sessions, information sharing and drafting of machinery movement protocols for the infestation area.
“Wesley will be a familiar face to many in the Mulgrave milling area. His local knowledge and industry expertise will provide a vital link in continuing our close working relationship with mill staff, farmers, contractors and farm workers,” she said.
Ms Karger said the Authority expected to announce a third successful local eradication site in August.
In addition to this, 160 hectares in the hill areas of Bentley Park has been moved to a transition stage due to a significant reduction and contraction of ant numbers. Surveying of the area will be conducted at six-monthly intervals and if remnant ant populations are found, spot treatment will occur.
Meantime, the Authority has completed broad scale aerial and ground treatment across Edmonton, Gordonvale, Bayview Heights and Kuranda (Russett Park), where monitoring and surveying will continue.
“The Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program continues to make progress with support and assistance from residents and industry,” she said.
“We thank residents and the cane industry in particular for their ongoing vigilance, and encourage locals to report suspected sightings.”
Yellow crazy ants are restricted biosecurity matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014. Suspected yellow crazy ant sightings can be reported by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.