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What’s New

Check out what we've been up to from April to June 2024

New coordinator - Rachel Reese

In late April the Taskforce bid farewell to its coordinators, Ciara Bridgland and Sylvia Conway, who had been at the helm of the Taskforce for seven years! Rachel Reese is the new coordinator, with Sylvia & Ciara completing handover & support at the end of June. Rachel is keen to meet residents in the treatment areas, so please get in touch if you’d like to meet up for a coffee.  

Kuranda yellow crazy ant infestations update

There are currently three yellow crazy ant infestations in the Kuranda region. The Wet Tropics Management Authority has been actively working on these sites since 2014, when the Russett Park infestation was first discovered. Green Forest was the second site, discovered in 2019, and more recently, an infestation in Myola was discovered in 2021.  

Russett Park 

The annual survey of Russett Park properties began later than usual due to the unusual wet season. By the end of June, 80% of properties had been surveyed, along with most of the Barron River bank. These surveys check for the presence or absence of yellow crazy ants. In the last annual survey in March 2023, a small patch of yellow crazy ants was detected, which has been spot treated. Surveys to date indicate no spread of yellow crazy ants, which is great news! Thank you to all the residents for facilitating these critical surveys. We are hopeful that the official ‘yellow crazy ant treatment area’ can be reduced in size this year, with full eradication possible in the next few years.

Green Forest 

Yellow crazy ants were detected in Jan 2024 at a complex rainforest site in the Green Forest area. The persistent patch of yellow crazy ants was thankfully reported to the Authority by the property owner, highlighting the importance of reporting suspect sightings. Spot treatment was completed. Crews are planning to survey Green Forest properties in July-August 2024. 

Myola 

No yellow crazy ants were detected during limited survey efforts at the Myola site in December 2023. Surveys were started in December 2023 but were interrupted by the wet season.  The next full survey of this site is planned for July 2024. 

Have you seen yellow crazy ants? Please report any suspected sightings to the Wet Tropics Management Authority at YCA@wtma.qld.gov.au, or call 07 4241 0525.  

AntZone launches!

At the end of June, a new resource was launched called AntZone. This online app cuts through confusion about the different invasive ant species, bringing you an interactive map of known infestations for both yellow crazy ants and electric ants. A handy button allows you to quickly report possible invasive ants. Be sure to check it out and pass along any feedback you have to improve it.

Sidewalk Surveys in Kuranda Village

Starting in April, we shifted our surveying focus from creeks to the village of Kuranda. After 2 years of creek surveys, we’re happy to report that we did not find any invasive ants! 

The 4th Saturday of each month, you’ll see our pink flags along the village streets. The flags mark ant lures of cat food and jam, and sausage, which are used to detect the presence or absence of yellow crazy ants and electric ants.

The April survey focused around the library, the May survey worked along Arara Street to the railway station, and the June survey along Rob Vievers Drive to the markets. 

Why not join us for the next surveys – We are desperately in need of volunteers!

Kuranda District State College & Djabugay Bulmba Ranger collaboration

We have been privileged again this year to be invited by the Djabugay Bulmba rangers to work with Kuranda District State College students who are studying Certificate II in Conservation & Ecosystem Management. This is a great opportunity to get the next generation involved!

In April, we presented at the college on basic ant ecology and how to recognise invasive ants. Our partners from Wet Tropics Management Authority and Biosecurity QLD brought along live ants for the students to see.

In May, we conducted a practical exercise with students at the Speewah campground. We were again assisted by staff from Wet Tropics Management Authority and Biosecurity Queensland. The Kuranda students were joined by Gordonvale State School students who are doing the same Cert II. Students were trained how to conduct surveys for invasive ants. We’re happy to report that no invasive ants were found at the Speewah campground!

Protect Your Patch event preparations

The month of June also included lots of preparation for the inaugural Protect Your Patch event, which was held on 6 July in Kuranda’s main park. The Taskforce helped to organise the event together with Kuranda EnviroCare and the Wet Tropics Management Authority. The focus was on raising awareness about the threat of invasive species and simple steps that everyone can take to stop their spread.

Our next update will have a full rundown on the event, but here are some photos to give you a taste.

Check your plants & yard

In Kuranda, one of the most common ways for invasive ants to spread is by moving garden plants. It’s great to share with friends but be sure to quarantine your new plants first. Simply submerge the pots or cuttings in water overnight to flush out any ants. Look at the ants, and if they are a ginger colour (yellow/orange), take a sample in a small container and give us a call so we can check them out. 

If you’re sharing or selling plants, you can also bareroot them to remove any soil which may harbour ants. Soak in water to work out the soil, then wrap in damp cloth or newspaper to keep the roots hydrated.

You should also get a FREE yard check and do your bit to protect our precious Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.  

Call Biosecurity Queensland 13 25 23 to book your free yard check now. 

What’s Coming Up

Would you like to learn new skills and join in on events and surveys?

What’s happening

Do you move raw materials or garden plants at your workplace? 

FREE Toolbox talk 

Learn about the risks and impacts invasive ants have in your community. 

Where: In your workplace or group setting 

When: Get in touch to make a time     

                

Kuranda Sidewalk survey 

Volunteers needed for our survey crew!

Where: Kuranda village – Meet at Jumrum Creek carpark on Barron Falls Road (near Tully Court)

When:  Saturday 27 July 2024, 8am to 12pm  

No experience necessary. Training provided on the day. Easy walking & bending.

Lunch and morning tea included 

Volunteer With Us

Volunteer and join the Taskforce or stay informed about yellow crazy ants




    What activities do you like?

    Outdoor activeIndoor workshopsPresentations, community connection

    How would you like to help?

    Stay informed and receive a monthly Taskforce updateVolunteer and receive details about the next upcoming volunteer event
     

    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 0474 560 700, email coordinator@communitytaskforce.org.au  or visit @ycacommunitytaskforce Facebook page.

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