Local councils, land managers and Traditional Owners from Cooktown to Hinchinbrook joined forces in August for the annual environmental taskforce to combat yellow crazy ants in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and surrounds.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority and Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) led the 2018 Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce, which included:
The taskforce surveyed a number of creeks downstream of known infestations near Edmonton and Gordonvale: Wrights Creek, Blackfellow Creek, Mackey Creek and Stoney Creek. These areas are vulnerable due to yellow crazy ants’ ability to spread by floating or washing downstream in large numbers.
The 70 participants covered an amazing 215 hectares of area, surveying 35.5 kilometres of waterways and collecting 17,667 data points. In a first for the taskforce, there were crews working from boats who deployed 300 sticky traps throughout the mangrove areas of three creek systems.
Only one new infestation was found, approximately 450 metres downstream from a known infestation area—this can now be treated and contained.
The teams were so efficient that they were also able to take on some additional surveillance tasks to provide much needed data in some of the known infestation areas.