Yellow crazy ants

Eradication program

For up to date information about the eradication of yellow crazy ants, please see the Stamp out yellow crazy ants page.

Impacts of yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) are a major threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

They are a serious environmental and agricultural pest, recognised among the world's 100 most invasive species. The name 'crazy ant' is derived from their erratic walking style and frantic movements, especially when disturbed.

Yellow crazy ants are known as 'tramp ants' because of their ability to spread by hitching a ride. Other tramp ants include electric ants (Wasmannia auropunctata), also detected in the Wet Tropics region (see the new invasive animals page).

Yellow crazy ants can have severe impacts on a range of ecological processes and lead to significant loss of biodiversity. They have the potential to threaten the tourism industry and visitor enjoyment of the Wet Tropics, the quality of life for local residents and agricultural productivity.

Where are crazy ants found in the Wet Tropics?

Yellow crazy ants were first detected in Cairns in 2001 and a large infestation of up to 400ha has become established in a suburban and rural area south of Cairns. Yellow crazy ants were detected just within the World Heritage Area and Little Mulgrave National Park in 2012.

In December 2013 yellow crazy ants were also detected in the Kuranda area.

Identifying yellow crazy ants

Yellow crazy ants can be identified by their:

  • long slender body – 5mm body length
  • very long legs and antennae
  • brownish-yellow or orange-yellow, with a brown abdomen, sometimes striped
  • similarity to a small green ant (but yellow)
  • erratic, frantic, crazy movement
  • ability to forage day and night (they are less active in intense heat and heavy rain)
  • sting using a spray of formic acid (not a bite)

Identification of infestation sites

In June 2013, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Biosecurity Queensland and Conservation Volunteers completed the Stamp Out Tramp Ants project to identify where tramp ants were established along the boundaries of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.  

The project determined that an area of approximately 400 hectares behind Edmonton and Bentley Park in Cairns would require aerial and hand baiting to treat the yellow crazy ant infestation, including about 30ha in the Wet Tropics World heritage Area.

A positive project outcome was that Biosecurity Queensland's eradication of electric ants in the Bingil Bay area near Mission Beach was found to be successful. However, electric ants still pose a potential threat to the World Heritage Area in the northern Cairns area.

You can view the final report for Pest control on the edge of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Report.

Eradication program

In 2013 the Wet Tropics Management Authority was funded $2M over five years by the Caring for Our Country program to eradicate a large infestation of up to 600ha in the Edmonton area.

The Authority commenced an eardication program for the Edmonton and Kuranda infestations in May 2014. If you wish to know more about the eradication program you can catch up on progress on our Stamp out yellow crazy ants page.

What can you do?

  • Report suspected yellow crazy ants immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23
  • If you live in or near an infestation, do not move vegetation waste, soil, pot plants or other materials that might contain yellow crazy ants

Learn more about yellow crazy ants

 

News and Events

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News and Events

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