Thursday, 11 November 2021

Lismore's unwelcome invasive pest has surfaced once more - the Yellow Crazy Ant


 

IMAGE: Qld Wet Tropics Management Authority











"The yellow crazy ant is listed as one of the top 100 worst invasive species by the IUCN and the Global Invasive Species Database. They are a category three restricted pest under the Biosecurity Act 2014. As such, all citizens have a general biosecurity obligation to minimise the risk of further infestation." [https://www.wettropics.gov.au/yellow-crazy-ants]


"...form huge super-colonies containing thousands of queens and have worker densities reaching up to 20 million ants per hectare." [CSIRO, retrieved 10 November 2021]


Invasive Species Council:


Yellow crazy ants are a highly aggressive tramp ant that made it into Australia through our ports. In a suitable climate such as that of the Queensland Wet Tropics they can form super colonies over vast areas and have huge environmental, social and economic impacts.


Yellow crazy ants do not bite, but spray formic acid to blind and kill their prey.


Once the ants reach super colony levels they can become a severe threat to people, especially children and the elderly, as well as pets. They can damage household electrical appliances and wiring.


One man in Australia has already suffered serious injury from yellow crazy ants. While sleeping at his home in Edmonton, Queensland, the ants swarmed all over Frank Teodo’s face, burning his eyes badly with their acid. And he’s not alone, people’s pets have been sprayed by the ants’ acid, injuring their eyes, mouth and paws. The ants can also kill small and young animals including chickens and native animals.


Yellow crazy ants are a huge threat to agriculture in Australia’s warmer regions. By farming sugar-secreting scale insects and encouraging sooty moulds they can dramatically reduce the productivity of crops such as fruit trees and sugar cane.....


And now this ant has returned to the Lismore local government area in the NSW Northern Rivers region.


EchoNetDaily, 10 November 2021:


Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) has been confirmed in Lismore.
 Photo supplied.


Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) have been threatening the Lismore area since 2018 when they were detected in the Lismore CBD. Another colony has been detected in Lismore recently.


A small surviving colony of yellow crazy ants was recently detected in Lismore after an astute resident spotted them in his garden,’ said a spokesperson for Lismore City Council (LCC)…..


NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is monitoring and controlling the surviving ants through targeted treatments approved for use in urban and residential areas. ‘Lismore City Council and the DPI are grateful for the continued support of the Lismore community in the management of yellow crazy ants,’ said LCC spokesperson......


You can help stop their spread by checking outdoor areas for ants with:


  • slender yellow to brownish bodies about 5mm long

  • dark brown abdomens, sometimes striped

  • very long legs and antennae

  • an erratic walking style


If you spot any suspicious ants:


  • collect them in a container

  • freeze them for 15 minutes, then photograph them against a white background

  • call the Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or email species@dpi.nsw.gov.au


Good quality photos and videos of the ants will help with initial identification. For more information about yellow crazy ants visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/yca …..