Check out what we've been up to in July 2022
Volunteer for our Kuranda tree frogs and you
Do you want to do something great for your local environment? The Community Taskforce are helping to protect our critically endangered and endemic Kuranda tree frog by surveying for yellow crazy ants in the lower reaches of creeks that run into the Barron River. Yellow crazy ants spray formic acid onto their prey and target other insects their size, reptiles and marsupials. They have been known to forage in mature forest canopy and impact nesting bird populations. Invasive ants are a huge threat to our Wet Tropics biodiversity.
Our monthly KTF frog creek surveys are ongoing so come along and donate a few hours of your time to a great cause. Volunteering can help you feel better about yourself by improving your self-esteem and confidence. Help you share your talents, learn new skills and create a better work-life balance. Other benefits include combating stress, loneliness, social isolation and depression and help you meet new people, which can help you feel more connected and valued.
Our next surveys are in Ripple Creek on 30 July and 20 August.
Please get in touch if you would like to sign up. Volunteers Rock! ☺
Check your pots and protect your patch
The Community Taskforce recently launched an awareness raising video called ‘Protect Your Patch’ which demonstrates methods of quarantining a pot plant—this is an important message for all gardeners, seed savers and plant enthusiasts.
The two methods to quarantine are as follows:
Bare rooting is taking a potted plant and removing the pot and soil, leaving the roots bare. Bare roots remove any ants, nests, or eggs that could be hiding in the soil.
A water bath is submerging your potted plant in a container of water for some hours and checking the water for suspect ants.
For larger pots, you can position the pot in a moat of water, essentially creating an ‘island’. The roots don’t get wet but ants cannot escape the water. Plants quarantined in a moat of water can be left longer than 24 hours.
Check plant material for invasive ants before selling, swapping or sharing. Yellow crazy ants are found at three areas near Kuranda and Electric Ants at many more.
To help stop the spread we all need to take responsibility for moving ants around. We rely on community support to prevent yellow crazy ants from spreading. Your contribution in our efforts to eradicate this pest are greatly appreciated. Do your bit and protect your patch.
If your group would like a demonstration, please get in touch and we can come to you and show you how to quarantine your own pot plants.
To watch the 7 min film, produced by Julian Pitcher and more great tips on how to quarantine a pot plant – click on the link here – ‘Protect Your Patch‘.
What does a yellow crazy ant look like?
- Slender body, usually 4mm long (about half the size of a green ant)
- Long skinny legs
- Long antennae, equal to or exceeding the length of the body (11 segments in total)
- Head is distinctly longer than broad
- Golden-brown body, with a darker brown abdomen, sometimes striped
- Day and night time foraging (they are less active in intense heat and heavy rain)
- Spray formic acid (do not bite or sting)
- Tend to be found in large numbers rather than by themselves.
- Eggs hatch after 18–20 days
- Worker larvae develop in 16–20 days
- Pupae of workers develop in 20 days, while queen pupae develop in 30–34 days
- Total lifespan of a worker ant is approximately 76–84 days.
What’s Coming Up
You want to get involved in our awesome events?
Surveys in Kuranda tree frog habitat
Invasive ants have been found in critical frog habitat and the Kuranda tree frog is under threat from the yellow crazy ant. Checking for invasive ants will ensure protection of this endemic and critically endangered species.
We need your help so please get in touch if you would like to assist with the survey.
Morning tea and lunch provided.
WHERE: Lower reaches of Kuranda creeks
WHEN: Monthly survey 8–12.30 pm
Sat 30 July — Ripple Ck (Jarawee Rd)
Sat 20 August — Ripple Creek (Kuranda Heights Rd)
Steiner Spring Fair
Volunteering opportunities available to help at our info stall
WHEN: Sat 27 August
WHERE: Cairns and Hinterland Steiner School, Boyles Rd Kuranda
On a final note
The Community Taskforce is a community-run organisation that assists the Wet Tropics Management Authority in managing the yellow crazy ant infestations in Kuranda. Volunteers are involved in some aspects of the program, including undertaking monitoring activities, completing surveys of known infestation areas and surveys in the surrounding area.
We search for both yellow crazy ants and electric ants.
To report illegal dumping contact Mareeba Shire Council on 1300 308 461. Report yellow crazy ants call 1800 CRAZY ANT