Check out what we've been up to in May 2022
Invasive ant hunt
A team of Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce volunteers and Wet Tropics Management Authority staff from their Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program joined forces to survey a section of Jumrum Creek in Kuranda. We split into two teams, and each took one side each of the creek. The vegetation was thick, the creek bank was slippery and the terrain steep in some areas. We laid out a lure of jam and cat food mixed together every 5m and marked with a pink flag. We also laid out two lines of sausage lure to check for electric ants. After a morning tea break of yummy treats from Sprout Café, we went back to check the lures. No invasive ants were found on this section of creek, however electric ants have been found by Biosecurity Queensland further upstream prior to our survey. The endemic and critically endangered Kuranda tree frog is found in many creeks that run into the Barron River and yellow crazy ants threaten to wipe out these frog populations if not found and treated early. Ongoing surveys will continue in Kuranda tree frog habitat. Stay tuned for upcoming dates.
Russett Park update
The Wet Tropic Management Authority field staff, supported by staff from NQ Land Management Services, visited Russett Park in May 2022 to undertake a yellow crazy ant survey. The great news is no yellow crazy ants were found.
A delimitation survey determines the boundaries of the infestation and needed to be done every 6-12 months to ensure that the yellow crazy ant infestation has not spread beyond the original determined infestation area. The Authority is now doing more regular surveys to look for remnant populations rather than basic delimitation. As eradication progresses, the ants are reduced to small patches. The patches are treated, leaving the surrounding area to recover. Eventually ants can be reduced to levels that are unable to be easily detected with the current survey methods. Therefore, multiple surveys are needed to be undertaken over time to ensure that the ants have truly been eradicated.
The 2021 survey showed density has decreased and yellow crazy ant numbers were at an all-time low. One of the Authority’s odour-detection dogs, Fury, confirmed a small patch of yellow crazy ants were still present which was spot treated soon after.
The most recent survey (May 2022) is the first to show no yellow crazy ants since the infestation was discovered in 2014. This is great news for everyone involved. An incredible effort was made by the field teams from the Wet Tropics Management Authority and NQ Land Management Services, and a big thank you to the Russett Park residents for their understanding, patience, and permission to access property. Well done everyone.
Hydrologists from Mareeba, who maintain a water quality monitoring site at Myola, have learned how to recognise yellow crazy ants after attending an identification and information presentation delivered by the Wet Tropics Management Authority.
Toolbox talks are an efficient way of providing a better understanding of the devastation these invaders can cause. Authority staff can provide knowledge and best practice advice on methods to reduce the possibility of an infestation being transported into, or from, your work areas. Uncontrolled spread of yellow crazy ants will result in major environmental damage, economic impacts on tourism and agricultural industries, property development and residents’ lifestyles.
When Kuranda Conservation Community Nursery held their AGM in March, they also invited the Authority’s yellow crazy ant team along to conduct an information session on these invasive pests. Monitoring staff members provided an informative presentation, complete with a live ant display for an up close and personal experience.
What’s Coming Up
You want to get involved in our awesome events?
Protect Your Patch—short film screening
Kuranda Envirocare’s speaker meeting will start with an update on the Kuranda tree frog plan followed by a short film showing methods of how to quarantine a pot plant.
WHERE: Kuranda Recreation Centre
WHEN: Thurs 2 June 7pm
Surveys in Kuranda tree frog habitat
Invasive ants have been found in critical frog habitat and the Kuranda tree frog is under threat from yellow crazy ants. 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. A medium level of fitness will be required due to some steep terrain. Morning tea and lunch provided.
WHERE: Jumrum Creek, Kuranda
WHEN: Sat 18 June & Sat 16 July
VEXPO – FNQ Volunteer Expo
WHEN: Sun 29 May 2022
WHERE: The Tanks Art Centre, Collins Ave, Cairns
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