Yellow crazy ant taskforce go to battle

Aerial baiting of yellow crazy ants has been undertaken in southern parts of Cairns. 
Photographer: Samuel Davis

Date published: 14th July 2017

A large environmental taskforce will be deployed to participate in hand-treating yellow crazy ant infestations along creek systems through Cairns southern suburbs of Edmonton and Bentley Park, and into the adjacent foothills of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The treatment of the creek systems will involve broadcasting granules of ant bait. This is part of a concerted effort, this month, in the ongoing battle against the invasive ants. Aerial treatments commence in the week beginning 24 July while ground crews are currently treating in all affected residential areas.

The taskforce is a collaborative exercise involving the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC). The two organisations coordinate the weeklong baiting program with other organisations including staff from seven local councils, QPWS Rangers, Gimuy Traditional Owners, Djunbunji Land and Sea Rangers, Gunggandji Rangers, Yirrganydji Rangers, Biosecurity Queensland and Terrain NRM.

Around 50 personnel will share their resources and expertise while broadening their understanding of the yellow crazy ant threat and contributing to its eradication.  

Travis Sydes who coordinates natural asset management for the FNQROC said “FNQROC and member councils are deeply concerned by the wide-ranging impacts of yellow crazy ant to the regions biodiversity, economy and communities if the outcome of regional eradication is not realised.

“It’s great to see the taskforce evolve and grow each year to include a wider range of stakeholders; it really highlights the importance of regional partnerships in the delivery the project.

“On top of great outcomes on the ground taskforces are really important skill building exercises for regional staff. The result is more eyes out there on the ground right across the Far North which is an essential part of the regional effort,” Mr Sydes said.

The western boundary of the infestation was first determined by the taskforce in 2014, followed by the first round of aerial baiting. The subsequent assessments in 2015 and 2016 showed a significant reduction in ant population density with minor expansion of the infestation area.

Wet Tropics Management Authority Project Manager Lucy Karger said “While work conducted by the Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ants Eradication team continues to yield good results the fight against yellow crazy ants goes on.

“It is a huge undertaking to rid our landscape of these extremely aggressive pests. Collaborating to deliver large scale works in a short space of time allows significant progress to be made that would otherwise not be possible.

“With so many organisations and private landholders committed to eradicating yellow crazy ants in our region, along with the coordinated efforts of the Taskforce, we are anticipating a positive outcome from our baiting efforts,” Ms Karger added.

Another round of treatment is expected to also take place during October this year.

Treatment is highly dependent on weather conditions and wet conditions will cause treatment to be delayed.

Yellow crazy ants are restricted biosecurity matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Suspected yellow crazy ant sightings can be reported by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Media contact: Lucy Karger 07 4241 0517 or 0491 222 171


NOTE: Weather dependant – inclement weather will force the postponement of the taskforce activities – the Authority will keep media informed of any changes.

The yellow crazy ant taskforce and members of the Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program will be on site Monday 17 July 12-3pm.

Where:    Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program Operations Base

31A Vickers Street



Additional opportunities to photograph/film field teams in action can occur in designated riparian areas, and areas with YCA present from Tuesday 18 July to Thursday 20 July.

  • Approximately 50 staff from their respective organisations will be on site equipped with yellow crazy ant treatment tools and pesticide.
  • Samples of yellow crazy ants can be available for inspection and photo/camera opportunities.
  • The sites enables shots of the operations base, cane farms and the taskforce with a rainforest backdrop.

 About yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ants are among the most invasive species found in the Wet Tropics. The exotic pest has invaded around 800 hectares of land in the region, including over 200 hectares of rainforest in and adjacent to the World Heritage Area. Rather than bite or sting, the ants spray formic acid to kill their prey, making them a danger to threatened endemic species in the Wet Tropics. The 5mm ants can kill much larger prey and often work in large numbers.Yellow crazy ant taskforce go to battle

Read the next news item: The Authority's July eNews out now


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