The community taskforce was formed by Russett Park resident Mikhaila Jacoby, whose home has been affected by yellow crazy ant infestations. Ms Jacoby successfully motivated over 70 taskforce members to undertake the training.
Taskforce members were trained on site by the yellow crazy ant eradication team in treatment, surveillance and monitoring of crazy ant infestations.
The 30 hectare infestation in Russett Park is just 500 metres from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and was first detected in December 2013. Since then, residents have watched yellow crazy ants rapidly spread through rainforest and backyards, killing and displacing native fauna. The infestation has also resulted in some residents giving up on gardening activities due to the severe impacts of the ants.
Senior Technical Officer – YCA, Gareth Humphreys, said the enthusiasm of the Russett Park community to be involved in the crazy ant program has been heartening and provides a good example of community led action.
“The Authority is thrilled by the support of the energetic and passionate community action of Russett Park residents who are committed to the eradication of this serious invasive pest in their area,” he said.
This was the second round of aerial baiting by helicopter for 2015 and followed the first round of aerial baiting conducted in March this year.
Infested areas in the vicinity of Russett Park near Kuranda were included in the aerial treatment for the first time.
Wet Tropics executive director Scott Buchanan said aerial treatments were initially planned for June, but were postponed due to unprecedented rainfall and high winds.
“Unfortunately we are at the mercy of mother nature when it comes to treating yellow crazy ant infestations,” Mr Buchanan said.
The helicopter spreads granules of bait that worker ants take back to the nest, killing the colony.