Free yard checks for FNQ residents in fight against electric ant menace

News release | 26-Apr-2019

Far North Queensland residents are urged to register for a free yard check as Biosecurity Queensland works to eradicate electric ants from the region.

Team members from the National Electric Ant Eradication Program are ready to help residents detect these unwelcome guests.

“Electric ants may be very small, but they are a very big threat to health and our way of life in Far North Queensland,” Program coordinator Gary Morton said.

“Their stings are painful to humans, they can blind pets and native animals, and they can cause sooty mould and other bacteria in our crops and native rainforests. They have even been known to infest swimming pools and sting you while you’re having a leisurely dip!”

It’s been 13 years since electric ants were found in the Far North and since then 126 infestations have been found, varying in size from a single infested pot plant up to the original infestation.

Mr Morton said, with a further three years of funding just approved, Biosecurity Queensland remained committed to eradicating the ants, and a key to this success would be continued assistance from the community.

“We have recently found a cluster of new, very small infestations in the Port Douglas/Mossman region which shows that the public needs to remain vigilant, especially when buying or swapping pot plants and other plant material,” he said.

“We can see these ants off in the next three years, and checking yards across the electric ant biosecurity zone is a key to achieving this. The community has already helped us out by reporting 38 per cent of the infestations we have found so far, so now we are taking it up a notch.

“Because electric ants are so tiny, only 1.5 mm long and golden brown, they can be hard to spot, or differentiate from many native species. But our team of biosecurity officers have keen eyes and training to spot signs of infestations. We will remove infestations from residences when we find them and discuss with the occupier other ways we can ensure they don’t return.”

The yard inspections are available for residents in Cairns Regional, Cassowary Coast Regional, Tablelands Regional, Mareeba Shire and the Douglas Shire local government areas.

To register for a free inspection, call 13 25 23 or visit daf.qld.gov.au/anthunt. A team member will then be in touch to arrange a suitable time.

Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au