World first for Wet Tropics Management Authority

The Wet Tropics Management Authority (the Authority) has declared a major milestone, the largest single eradication of yellow crazy ants in the world.

The ants have been eradicated over an area of 365ha in farmland, suburban areas and rainforest, including rainforest in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The Hon Leanne Linard, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Innovation, visited the Authority’s Edmonton operations base for the announcement.

“Today’s announcement, the eradication of yellow crazy ants in an area four times the size of the previous global record, is testament to what can be achieved when governments and community work together,” she said.

“Protecting the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a key objective of our government, which is why we have been funding the work of the Wet Tropics Management Authority since 2016.”

This success in eradicating the invasive pest follows more than a decade of determined action by the Authority that started with broadscale yellow crazy ant treatments, then several years of surveys and spot treatments.

Included in the eradication area were 615 residential home lots in suburban Bentley Park, which is the greatest number of residential properties to be declared yellow crazy ant-free in the one period.

Yellow crazy ants have been eradicated from more than 450ha since the $6 million-a-year eradication program, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, was initiated in 2013.

Around 2300ha of land across 46 separate infestations in the Wet Tropics region are managed by the Authority for yellow crazy ants, and 70 per cent of this infestation area is under long-term monitoring—the last phase before eradication is declared. More sites are expected to be declared eradicated soon.

Yellow crazy ants were discovered in Cairns in 2001 and are among the world’s 100 worst invasive species. Once established, the ants swarm aggressively and destroy ecosystems, killing invertebrates and small animals.

Yellow crazy ants are one of many threats to the unique biodiversity of the Wet Tropics, and the partnership between the Australian and Queensland governments reflects their shared commitment to protecting the World Heritage values of the Wet Tropics.

“We have an obligation to preserve this living museum of flora and fauna for future generations, for its rich First Nations cultural heritage and its contribution to a resilient tourism industry that generates millions of dollars each year for the Far North economy,” Minister Linard said.

“Left untreated, yellow crazy ants can spread quickly, devastating our native plants and animals, agriculture, and quality of life. It is up to all Queenslanders to be vigilant to combat this pest.”

“The Albanese and Miles governments are strongly committed to protecting this precious place for our kids and grandkids,” said Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek.

“The Albanese Government is delivering on our promise to protect native species by tackling invasive pests like yellow crazy ants.

“Our joint funding has delivered targeted work with the sugarcane industry to reduce the risk of transporting yellow crazy ants between farms through machinery movement, high tech surveillance to detect potential spread, and ant surveys using odour detection dogs.

Authority Chair Ms Chrissy Grant thanked the Queensland and Australian governments for their continued support.

“I also thank Authority staff for the many years they have contributed to the eradication efforts, in sometimes challenging conditions,” she said.

“The Authority’s work and the Australian and Queensland governments’ commitments to it is testament to the value of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, home to some of the world’s oldest rainforests and the oldest continuously living cultures on the planet.”

The community should remain vigilant and is encouraged to report sightings of suspicious ants by calling the Wet Tropics Management Authority on 4241 0525 or via email at

World first for Wet Tropics Management Authority

Published: 05th Mar 2024

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