Check out what we've been up to in March 2023
What a morning of ant-spiration! The Taskforce joined forces with Biosecurity Queensland National Electric Ant Eradication Program and Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program to deliver an information session all about ants. And the people came marching in hurrah, hurrah.
As people arrived, we had tables set up with invasive ant information, microscopes, and ant samples to view. On the line-up we had:
- Andrew Piccone, from the Wet Tropics Management Authority (the Authority) who gave us an update on how the yellow crazy ant eradication is progressing for Kuranda and south of Cairns.
- Gary Morton, from Biosecurity Queensland, shared everything we needed to know about electric ants and why we need to book a free yard check because electric ants are too difficult to recognise due to their 1mm size.
- Jules Seabright, from the Authority inspired us with obvious passion and enthusiasm for entomology. We got a close-up view of an ant’s world with native and invasive ant species and their differing characteristics.
- Lastly, Kayleen from the Authority showcased her working companion Pretzel, the odour detection dog with a demonstration of how odour detection dogs are used to find yellow crazy ants.
With all the valuable information shared, the audience got the chance to share their knowledge with a pop quiz. The room was full of fun and ant-ics! Those who answered correctly received a frog bookmark displaying 3 of our endemic and endangered frogs and a sweet treat for fun.
Overall, the event was a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into a publicly funded eradication program, learn about the wonders of an ant’s life and why public support and vigilance is one of the keys to a successful eradication of invasive ants from within and adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Friends of the frogs are back
We are back in action with our first yellow crazy ant survey for 2023 in Kuranda tree frog (KTF) habitat.
Yellow crazy ants and electric ants have been found in Kuranda tree frog habitat. In early 2022 the Taskforce decided to check the lower reaches of creeks that are home to our critically endangered and endemic Kuranda tree frog. These monthly surveys will help to minimise the threats that yellow crazy ants pose to these and many other species in and adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The team were off to a slow start last Saturday with a monsoon down pour passing over just upon arrival. This was followed shortly after by much welcome sunshine and clear skies. We spotted several wood frogs Papurana daemeli, along the way enjoying the cool muddy banks of Owen Creek. No yellow crazy ants were detected however Biosecurity Queensland did take 2 suspect electric ant samples to be checked.
Thanks to Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program staff for training up the Taskforce volunteers and Biosecurity Queensland for your support with eradication program staff and expertise. Also, a shout-out to our wonderful Taskforce volunteers and the residents for your cooperation with permissions and ease of access for our team on the day. It was a successful and important collaboration working toward invasive ant eradication.
The next KTF survey will be in Cain Creek 22 April 2023 – only 4 positions available on our team of six so get in quick. No experience is necessary but a medium level of fitness is required.
Taskforce volunteer Jacinta and Biosecurity Queensland officer Liz at Cain Creek, enjoying their first yellow crazy ant survey.
Biosecurity Queensland officer Keely with Lukasz from Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program, teaming up for the yellow crazy ant survey.
A mix of jam and catfood serves as a lure rich in sugars and proteins making it an attractive treat for yelow crazy ants
Papurana Daemeli – Wood frog @ Cain Ck
Invasive ants and human assisted movement
What is human assisted movement? Human assisted movement is the movement of ants, particularly invasive yellow crazy ants and electric ants by humans to other uninvaded areas. This is the leading cause of invasive ant spread and the quickest way for invasive ants to move large distances away from its original location.
How do they hitch a ride with humans? When humans visit a known or unknown infestation of yellow crazy ants or electric ants, they may pick up some ants with a queen ant in a ‘carrier’. A carrier is any object that attracts ants to want to hide or nest in or on a carrier. A carrier is often a raw material such as soil, mulch, potted plants, cuttings, timber, rocks and garden waste. Other carriers can be machinery, power tools, cars, back packs, clothing, rubbish, toys, outdoor furniture, skip bins, construction material, mowers and any other movable man-made objects.
Yellow crazy ants are believed to have arrived in Cairns in 2001 at the port on a shipment of timber. The timber was moved to the Edmonton area and from there, the ants were spread. The yellow crazy ants in Russett Park were traced from the movement of soil and mulch from Edmonton to Russett Park. Fitting examples of human assisted movement.
Electric ants are commonly spread from the movement of potted plants.
When invasive ants are spread through human assisted movement, the humans moving them, often don’t know they are carrying them. No one person is to blame for an infestation spread however, if the public can recognise an invasive ant and are aware of known infestation areas, this awareness is a huge step toward preventing further spread.
There are several ways you can check for invasive ants. If you are a resident, you can book a free yard check by calling 13 25 23. If you want to know where electric ant restriction zones are visit https://qgsp.maps Similarly, for yellow crazy ant infestations visit wettropics.gov.au/do-you-live-in-an-infestation-area.
Lastly, if you own a business working with raw materials or offer a lawn and garden care service in the Kuranda area, you can equip yourself with invasive ant knowledge by booking a free toolbox talk. Toolbox talks take 20-30mins to deliver and include live invasive ants for recognition. Call the coordinator on 0409 647 714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a toolbox talk for your business.
Swapping plants is a wonderful way to unknowingly spread invasive ants.
Keep an eye out for this sign which shows you are entering a yellow crazy ant zone.
What’s Coming Up
Would you like to learn new skills and join in on events and surveys?
Kuranda tree frog habitat monthly survey
Looking for invasive ants in Kuranda tree frog habitat
WHERE: Owen Creek, Oak Forest Rd, Kuranda
WHEN: Saturday 22 April 2023, 8-12 pm
Moderate level of fitness required
No experience is necessary; all training is provided on the day.
Rotary FNQ Field Days
Volunteer opportunities available at our display tent
WHERE: Mareeba Rodeo Grounds
WHEN: 24-26 May
WHERE: At your workplace
WHEN: Get in touch to make a time!
Volunteer With Us
Volunteer and join the Taskforce or stay informed about yellow crazy ants
On a final note
The Yellow Crazy Ant 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 many aspects of the program including undertaking regular monitoring activities, completing surveys, and attending community engagement activities and events.
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
To volunteer with the Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce call (07) 4093 8989, email email@example.com or visit @ycacommunitytaskforce Facebook page.