Check out what we've been up to in May and some of June
Russett Park infestation survey
Wet Tropics Management Authority’s field teams are surveying properties for yellow crazy ants at the Russett Park infestation area. Seventeen properties have been surveyed so far and one property detected a small patch of yellow crazy ants. The patch was first detected by lure surveys in an area of 5-10m wide. However, a follow up survey by odour detection dog, Fury, found more yellow crazy ants and expanded the patch to 40m.
Surveys searching for yellow crazy ants will continue in the area until the whole infestation area is complete. The positive detections will be spot treated with the ant insecticide AntOff. After spot treatment, surveys will continue in the area until consecutive surveys find no yellow crazy ants over a period of time.
Results of the Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce 2021 (not Community Taskforce)
Our taskforce participated in the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils the annual Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce on the 17 – 21 May 2021 from the Authority’s operations base at Bentley Park. It was great to be part of such a successful event.
This year’s aim was to survey for the presence of yellow crazy ants on sugarcane headlands south of Cairns between East Trinity and Deeral that have been identified as at risk of infestation by yellow crazy ants.
The year’s event was the largest taskforce ever – with 113 participants from 11 organisations. Four of those were from the Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce.
The major challenge for this year’s taskforce was the need to survey multiple sites across a large area and dealing with poor weather conditions on the third day. Despite this, the Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce was able to achieve:
- 78, 955 individual points inspected
- 233km of headlands surveyed
- 68 samples collected
- 572 hectares covered
- No yellow crazy ants detected!
These are excellent results. While the surveys completed by the Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce only account for a small part of the sugar cane farming areas in the region, they have provided important evidence that yellow crazy ants are restricted to areas predominantly to the west of the Bruce Highway. Surveys in sugar cane will be ongoing to build on this very important start. Well done team and thankyou to Taskforce volunteers Janice Rodway, Daniel Patoux and Tim Brown.
Authority’s eradication team wins award
The Weed Society of Queensland’s (WSQ) biannual Pest Animal Team Award was given to the Authority’s yellow crazy ant eradication program for its ongoing achievements in working to eradicate yellow crazy ants from areas in and adjacent to the Area.
The WSQ award recognises the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s team excellence in pest animal management, in particular, the yellow crazy ant eradication program team’s collaborative approach to yellow crazy ant eradication, involving all partners and stakeholders including community, cane growers, industry, Traditional Owners and government. Congratulations to all of you!
FNQ Rotary Field Days 2021
The FNQ Rotary Field Days was a success with 70 patrons walking through our stall to talk about yellow crazy ants, how to recognise them and see the progress of eradication. We met with people from all over the Hinterland region including Julatten and as far south as Ingham.
The event was a great way to meet people who we would’ve never have met otherwise.
Thank you FNQ Rotary Field Days for bringing 15,000 people together over the three days from all over Queensland and interstate.
I’d like to especially thank Taskforce volunteers, Tim Brown, Bernd Seidl, Mark Palmer and Alan for manning the Taskforce stall over the three days and Barron Catchment Care for allowing us to share a stall with you. It was a great event. Thank you
Bio Blitz: What’s in your backyard
Kuranda Envirocare hosted an info event on 29 May 2021 to interest locals in learning about the critters and creatures in their backyard. Guest speakers with expertise in our local wildlife presented 10 different seminars from bird watching and minibeasts to spotlighting possums and frogs.
The Taskforce contributed to the Ant troubles seminar with a presentation on yellow crazy ants alongside Mike Greasley from electric ants. We had 15 local residents from Kuranda attend the Ant troubles seminar.
Cairns Ecofiesta 2021
The Taskforce attended this year’s Cairns Ecofiesta 2021 event on 13 June at Munro Martin Parklands. Thanks to the hundreds of people who visited our stall alongside the Wet Tropics Management Authority and its yellow crazy ant eradication program.
Taskforce volunteer, Tim Brown did a marvellous job talking to the patrons and we received interested volunteers signing up to join the Taskforce. It was an epic day.
What’s Coming Up
You want to get involved in our awesome events?
Field day event: Russett Park Lure Survey
The taskforce will host a field day event on the morning of 3 July 2021 in Kuranda surveying the edge of the Russett Park infestation area along the Barron River. The ant hunt will use a cat food and jam lure, a yellow crazy ant’s favourite meal, to attract foraging ants to the lure which will later be checked for yellow crazy ants.
Yellow crazy ant recognition and GPS training will be provided beforehand with a delicious brunch of homemade scones and sandwiches afterwards. No experience necessary just a love for the outdoors and adventure. Spaces are limited so let me know if you’re in.
If you’re interested but live some distance, carpooling can be arranged.
The above image is the ant hunt we did in September last year at Russett Park Kuranda with sticky ant traps.
On a final note, if you haven’t noticed in the photos. I am 24 weeks pregnant and due in early October. I will be taking maternity leave from a date in September. My husband and I are absolutely thrilled to be expecting, and you can expect someone to step into the role of Taskforce coordinator from some time in September. I’ll keep you posted. Ciara 🙂