Check out what we've been up to in July - Sep 2023
The Taskforce in July
With two known electric ant infestations in and near Mareeba and no known yellow crazy ant infestations, it was time to reach out to residents west of Kuranda.
The Taskforce had its first market stall in Mareeba on 8 July. It was a resounding success with many interactions with Mareeba locals and locals further afield from Atherton, Cairns, Cooktown, Oak Beach, and Whyanbeel. Many of them did not know about the infestations and were keen to learn more about the invasive ants.
Volunteer Expo VEXPO
The Taskforce returned to the annual FNQ Volunteers VEXPO event at the Tanks Art Centre on 30 July to attract new volunteers and spread awareness of invasive ants.
Our own volunteer Tim Brown was there demonstrating the value of volunteers. We were among other community groups, all thriving off the good work of volunteers.
Survey sessions for the Kuranda tree frog
On July 29 in Mantaka, Kuranda; six volunteers, one Wet Tropics Management Authority field officer and the Taskforce Coordinator took an adventure up Mantaka creek searching for yellow crazy and electric ants. All part of the monthly surveys searching for invasive ants in Kuranda Treefrog habitat.
Fortunately, we found a diversity of native ant species and no invasive ants. In fact, no ant samples were taken as the volunteers were regulars and after being checked by Authority staff, they were confident the ants found were not electric or yellow crazy ants.
The next surveys are scheduled for:
Sat 30 September & Sat 28 October
The Taskforce in August
Koah market visit
We had our first display at the monthly Koah markets on Saturday 5 August and it was a success. A good turn out by locals and all interactions were with locals, which is what you want when you ask the community to keep an eye out for invasive ants.
Many were keen to know about the two electric ant infestations in Koah and what electric ants and yellow crazy ants look like. Importantly, locals wanted to know how to safely bring plants on their property and the Protect Your Patch demonstration was on display answering that very question.
On Saturday 12 August, the Taskforce and the Kuranda Men’s Shed were side by side outside Kuranda IGA sharing our message to the locals, which is, report yellow crazy ants and book are free yard check. For us we had live electric and yellow crazy ants on display and maps to show where the infestations are.
The Kuranda Men’s shed were selling brisket and gravy rolls while showcasing their woodwork and presence in the Kuranda community.
Both stalls had good outcomes for the morning.
The event proved to be beneficial with information provided on various dump piles in the Kuranda area which are now being checked for invasive ants.
Class 8/9 Steiner School Presentation
The Taskforce and Biosecurity Queensland joined forces recently at the Cairns & Hinterland Steiner School near Kuranda to talk with year 8 and 9 students about invasive ants and the threats they pose to our environment, lifestyle and agriculture.
We displayed live yellow crazy ants and electric ants for the students to take a closer look and better recognise the ants. Both ants are found in the Kuranda community and when left to their own devices have huge impacts on our Wet Tropics World Heritage biodiversity. The critically endangered and endemic Kuranda tree frog and endangered Southern Cassowary are among many of the threatened species in concern.
There are two active eradication programs underway, and they hugely benefit from our community support. The students discovered ways they can help to minimise the spread by quarantining pot plants, checking if they live in an infestation area and recognising and reporting suspect ants.
The students are studying Horticulture and Gardening and now are better equipped to protect their own patch.
Taskforce in September
Steiner School Spring Fair
The Yellow Crazy Ant Community Taskforce returned to the annual Cairns and Hinterland Steiner Spring Fair to share a stall with Biosecurity Queensland’s National Electric Ant Eradication Program. The live ant displays were exceedingly popular, and we shared valuable information with the community about both invasive ants found in the Cairns and Kuranda community.
What is the difference between yellow crazy ants and electric ants we hear?
This is a common question and having two species of invasive ants and two separate eradication programs in our community can be confusing.
Yellow crazy ants are thought to originate in SE Asia and spray formic acid in their preys’ eyes and are 4-5 mm long and a golden-brown colour.
Electric ants are from South America, have a painful sting and are 1-2 mm long and a brown colour. They both threaten and impact our environment, lifestyle and agriculture the same.
Children enjoyed colouring in, giveaways of yellow crazy ant face masks and a selection of stickers and brochures were also popular. Maypole dancing, food stalls, live music, and flower crown creations were just some of the wonderful sights to see.
A huge thank you to the Cairns & Hinterland Steiner School for having us and we hope to be back next year for some more fun and festivities.
Fathers day fun - Carnival on Collins
The Taskforce celebrated Father’s Day and spread the message of yellow crazy ants at Carnival On Collins on Sunday 3 September.
We had fine weather and large crowds. It was a busy day talking to punters and showing them the live yellow crazy ant display, the Protect Your Patch demonstration and the current infestation areas.
We had the help of volunteers Tim Brown, Chelsea Scanlan and Will Vickery. Thank you for your support. Volunteers Rock!
A great event to engage with many Cairns locals about the impacts of yellow crazy ants and how to protect our place in the Wet Tropics.
What’s Coming Up
Would you like to learn new skills and join in on events and surveys?
Kuranda Colour Fest
Where: Kuranda District State College, Myola Rd Kuranda
When: Friday 13 October, 4.30 pm – 9 pm
Kuranda Tree frog habitat (KTF) monthly survey
Volunteers wanted for our survey crew
Where: Kuranda creeks
Saturday 30 September | 8am – 12 pm
Saturday 21 October | 8am – 12 pm
Moderate level of fitness required.
No experience necessary. Training provided on the day.
Kuranda Blitz Weekend
A collaboration with Biosecurity Queensland’s National Electric Ant Eradication Program to survey the sidewalks of Kuranda’s suburban areas searching for electric and yellow crazy ants.
Where: Kuranda Envirocare nursery, 284 Myola Road Kuranda
When: 21-22 October
All training provided on the day including a BBQ lunch.
Mareeba Markets Stall
Come and volunteer at our stall to share information about invasive ants
Where: The Turf Club, 1 Fenwick St Mareeba
When: Saturday 14 October | 7am – 12pm
Depending on where you are coming from, a pickup and drop off could be arranged
FREE Toolbox talk
Learn about the risks and impacts invasive ants have in your community.
Where: In 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