Are you living or working in an AntZone?

Confused about where invasive ants are found in far north Queensland, the threat they pose to the environment, who manages them and what your responsibilities may be? 

A new and interactive online tool aims to alleviate the confusion between the different type of invasive ants found in far north Queensland. 

The Wet Tropics Management Authority and Biosecurity Queensland today launched a collaborative initiative called AntZone which can be accessed anytime or anywhere via a smartphone. 

AntZone is a user-friendly online map showing where yellow crazy ant and electric ant infestations are found across far north Queensland. 

People can use AntZone to look up a particular address to learn about the type of ant infestation in their selected area and which program is managing the infestation. 

The interactive map displays a yellow shaded overlay for yellow crazy ant zones and a red shaded overlay for electric ant zones.  

AntZone also directly links to an online reporting tool to allow users to report suspect ants. 

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said AntZone was another important tool in the fight in against invasive ants.

“Yellow crazy ants and electric ants are among some of the most invasive species in the world,” Mr Pitt said.

“Both species disrupt natural environments and impact native species.

“Unfortunately, both were discovered in the Cairns region in the early-to-mid 2000s and since then organisations like the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Biosecurity Queensland have been working to eradicate them.

“AntZone is another tool in the arsenal and I congratulate both organisations on its development and roll-out.”

Senator for Queensland Nita Green said it is critical to protect Australia’s natural environment from invasive species like the yellow crazy ant.

“Yellow crazy ants are a threat to our native environment and pose a significant risk to agricultural and horticultural production due to their ability to build super colonies, kill native animals and leave a path of destruction in their wake,” Senator Green said.

“This program is so important to limiting the disturbance and impact to the landscape and wildlife.

“The AntZone map will help far north Queenslanders identify high infestation zones and aid Wet Tropics Management Authority’s efforts with ongoing treatment and surveillance of this invasive species.”

The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program Manager Lucy Karger said the goal was for AntZone to become the go-to awareness resource for far north Queenslanders. 

She said AntZone stickers and magnets would be distributed to homes and businesses across the region. 

“All people need to do to use AntZone is scan a QR code. It is that simple,” Ms Karger said. 

“It was designed to help people understand where infestations are, what they need to be aware of and who to contact if they suspect they have seen either a yellow crazy ant or electric ant. 

“Community awareness will also help reduce the spread of these ants through human-assisted movement, which is the number one cause of new infestations.” 

National Electric Ant Eradication Program Principal Project Officer Robert Ibell said AntZone was a great example of using technology to provide fast and accurate information.  

“It is so important people visiting, working or living in infestation areas are aware of them, and the movement restrictions that apply in those areas,” Mr Ibell said. 

“Antzone is a user-friendly way of acquiring this information quickly and easily. Biosecurity Queensland welcome this terrific initiative.”  

In far north Queensland, yellow crazy ants are managed by the Wet Tropics Management Authority through their Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program and electric ants are managed by Biosecurity Queensland’s National Electric Ant Eradication Program.  

Both species of invasive ants can devastate the environment, affect biodiversity and agriculture, and impact residents’ livelihood and enjoyment of the region. 

The Wet Tropics Management Authority administers a $24 million Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments to combat the spread of the highly invasive species.

Are you living or working in an AntZone?

Published: 03rd Jul 2024

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