Join the Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt

Help protect our pristine Far North Queensland environment by taking part in the Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt.

It’s easy, it’s fun and something the whole family can do together.

What’s the problem with electric ants?

Electric ants are a serious invasive pest. We need to take action to stop their spread or they will become a threat to our environment and outdoor way of life.

Get involved today! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Complete the registration form. We will send you a kit with instructions on how to conduct your ant hunt.
Conduct your hunt and collect your ant samples
Get out in your garden and get hunting for ants! Your kit will provide an identification guide on what electric ants look like, their favourite hiding places and how to collect samples.
Return your ant samples to our laboratory.
Use the reply-paid envelope in the kit to send your sample ants to our laboratory for identification. We’ll let you know what you found, even if they aren’t electric ants.

Safety First!

Ensure children are properly supervised when taking part in the Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt.

Be safe. Always wear gloves when gardening and take care when turning over rocks and bits of wood. Make sure you’re sun safe too and wear sunscreen, a long-sleeved shirt and a wide brim hat.

How to identify electric ants

Electric ants are very small, only 1-1.5mm long, are golden brown or ginger in colour and are slow moving.

Aren’t electric ants dangerous?

Electric ants can inflict an itchy and painful sting but are not normally aggressive. Using an insecticide spray to kill them quickly and a cotton wool ball to collect the dead ants will avoid any physical contact and wearing gloves will provide additional safety.

If you do get stung you can apply a cold compress to relieve swelling and pain. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction then seek immediate medical attention.

Your Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt Kit contains:

  • an Information Guide
  • a zip-lock plastic bag
  • a cotton wool ball
  • an ant sample return sheet
  • a reply-paid envelope.

You will also need:

  • A can of insecticide spray with a quick knockdown action (i.e. fly spray, not surface spray) to kill the ants.
  • A small, soft paintbrush or tweezers to collect the ants.
  • A pair of gloves for each person taking part.

Where to look for electric ants

These are some of the best places to look for electric ants:

  • under rocks and timber
  • in pot plants, including under the bottom and in the saucer
  • in piles of mulch and garden waste, look around the base of the pile using a stick or garden trowel
  • in garden beds, look around the edges of flower beds and under shrubs
  • in garden furniture, look inside the frames or underneath furniture
  • along the edges of concrete paths and walls, look for slow moving lines of ants.

How to collect your ant samples

  1. Spray the ants with an insecticide spray that has a quick knockdown action (i.e. fly spray, not surface spray).
  2. Once the ants are dead, use a small soft paintbrush to gently place five to ten ants in the cotton wool ball. Please try not to squash them. If using tweezers, be careful not to crush the ant.
  3. Ensure the ants are completely encased in the cotton wool so that they are protected and don’t get crushed in the post.
  4. Place the cotton wool ball into the zip-lock bag and firmly seal it.

Return your ant samples to our laboratory for identification

  • Write the date you did your ant hunt onto the ant sample return sheet and check that your details are correct.
  • Put your ant samples and the completed sample return sheet into the reply-paid envelope and drop it in the mail.
  • We will contact you to let you know what ants you have found, even if they aren’t electric ants.

Download the Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt Information Guide (PDF, 4.1MB).