The infestation was discovered in bushland on 6 April by a local resident near Vico Street, Gordonvale.
The Authority is undertaking investigations to try and ascertain the source of the infestation.
The Authority Executive Director Scott Buchanan said: “Thanks to a local resident reporting this and support from the community, we have managed to swiftly identify the size of this infestation and we will start our treatment measures by air and on ground next week.” “Judging by the size of the infestation and the density of yellow crazy ant activity, this infestation has been there for a long time, probably since the Eradication Program began in 2013,” he said.
The Authority’s field teams, along with their ant detection dog Fury, have been busy working with residents to identify the size of the infestation site.
The total treatment area for the infestation, with a 100m buffer, is estimated to be 144.5 hectares. Aerial treatment will start on Monday 25 May, 2020 followed by on-ground treatment at residences and along the creeks.
“Having reduced yellow crazy ants to very low numbers across the Wet Tropics for a year or two now, we were reminded of their severe impacts when a large and very active infestation like this is discovered and why we must remain ever vigilant against one of the world’s worst invasive pests,” Mr Buchanan said.
“A silver lining to finding such a large and active infestation is that Authority staff, many of whom have worked on the program for three or four years, are seeing for the first time how invasive and damaging such an infestation of yellow crazy ants can be in the natural environment.
“Another positive benefit is that we have been able to replenish our stocks of captive yellow crazy ant nests to provide scent for our odour detection dog, Fury.”
The Authority has been liaising with local landholders and managers of the equestrian and archery facilities along Vico Street and the Holcim concrete depot on the Gillies Highway, all of which are in the infestation zone. Yellow crazy ants have also been found along Blackwell Creek adjacent to Vico Street and south of the Gillies Highway towards the Mulgrave River.
“The Authority is grateful to the local landholder who notifiedus of the arrival of yellow crazy ants on his property and to all the residents of Vico Street who have provided access to their properties and shared their experience of yellow crazy ants and their impacts on local wildlife with staff.”
“It is by us all working together that we can overcome challenges and threats to our environment.”
If anybody finds a yellow crazy ant infestation, please call 4241 0525.