Stamp out yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ant eradication

In 2013 the Wet Tropics Management Authority was funded $2M over five years by the Caring for Our Country program to eradicate a large infestation of up to 400ha in the Edmonton area. Yellow crazy ants were detected just within the World Heritage Area and Little Mulgrave National Park in 2012.

Scientists Dr Lori Lach and Dr Conrad Hoskin have written a poignant article in Wildlife Australia - Too much to lose - which emphasises the need to act now if we wish to protect the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area from the devastating impacts of crazy ants. You can also read all about the details of the eradication project on the Australian Government's MERIT website.

The Commonwealth Government is funding a treatment program to eradicate them from the Wet Tropics. The Authority commenced an eradication program for the Edmonton and Kuranda infestations in May 2014.

Project partners

The crazy ant eradication would not be possible without the support of our many partners. These include:

  • Animal Control Technologies
  • Australian Government
  • Biosecurity Queensland
  • Cairns Regional Council
  • Conservation Volunteers
  • CSIRO
  • Djunbunji Land and Sea Rangers
  • FNQ ROC
  • Green Army Program
  • Gunggandji Rangers
  • James Cook University
  • Jarragun NRM
  • McDermott Aviation
  • National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing 
  • Natural Asset Management Advisory Committee
  • Rural and suburban landholders
  • Sumitomo
  • Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce (Kuranda)

Eradication programs

For detailed information about the eradication programs, click on the links below:

Chemicals to kill crazy ants

If you wish to know more about the eradication program and the chemicals being used in the eradication program, you can read more below and download detailed information here about:

Are the ants dangerous?

The ants can be painful and dangerous to people and animals. They spray formic acid when disturbed and it can be particularly painful if there is contact with the eyes.

Is the treatment dangerous to humans?

No. The baiting program uses low doses of Fipronil which is not considered hazardous to people and animals. However, as a precaution, landholders are advised to avoid contact with the bait for at least 24 hours so the ants can collect it and take it down into their nests before it degrades. Fipronil can affect some fish and aquatic organisms and should not be used in fishponds or streams. 

What if I live in an area with crazy ants?

We need your cooperation:

  • to allow pest controllers to enter your property – please fill out the attached form
  • to allow the baits to be collected by the ants before they degrade after a day or two
  • to prevent movement of soil or vegetation which may contain crazy ants outside your property
  • to stop treating your yard so that our treatments have maximum effect during the eradication program.

Identifying yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ants can be identified by their:

  • long slender body – 5mm body length

  • very long legs and antennae

  • brownish-yellow or orange-yellow, with a brown abdomen, sometimes striped

  • similarity to a small green ant (but yellow)

  • erratic, frantic, crazy movement

  • ability to forage day and night (they are less active in intense heat and heavy rain)

  • sting using a spray of formic acid (not a bite)

Impacts of yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) are a major threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

They are a serious environmental and agricultural pest, recognised among the world's 100 most invasive species. The name 'crazy ant' is derived from their erratic walking style and frantic movements, especially when disturbed.

Yellow crazy ants are known as 'tramp ants' because of their ability to spread by hitching a ride. Other tramp ants include electric ants (Wasmannia auropunctata), also detected in the Wet Tropics region (see the new invasive animals page).

Yellow crazy ants can have severe impacts on a range of ecological processes and lead to significant loss of biodiversity. They have the potential to threaten the tourism industry and visitor enjoyment of the Wet Tropics, the quality of life for local residents and agricultural productivity.

 

What can you do?

  • Report suspected yellow crazy ants immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23
  • If you live in or near an infestation, do not move vegetation waste, soil, pot plants or other materials that might contain yellow crazy ants

Learn more about the yellow crazy ant eradication program

You can download:

For detailed information ring Lucy Karger or Gareth Humphreys at the Wet Tropics Management Authority on 07 4241 0500.

 

 

 

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