This weekend Kuranda residents are being urged to join a surveillance blitz targeting electric ants.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the hunt for electric ants in Kuranda would be held on Saturday 18 January and Sunday 19 January 2020.
“Put simply, we need to find every single electric ant for the program to be successful,” Mr Furner said.
“That is why we are asking Kuranda residents to join the ant hunt to help eradicate this highly invasive pest by registering for a free yard check carried out by Biosecurity Queensland field officers, using a self-survey kit to check their own yard or registering as a surveillance volunteer on one or both of the survey days.”
According to Australian Quarantine, Electric ants are regarded “as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species and are a serious environmental and urban pest. They can impact on the horticulture industry by painfully stinging employees and disrupt natural environments by damaging animals and plants. Domestic pets are at risk because the ants are attracted to pet food.”
First detected in Cairns in 2006, Electric ants are native to Central and South America. Adults are about 1.5mm long and ginger-coloured. They do not have a distinctive nest, but live under stones or wood, in dead trees and in houses, where they can infest furniture, beds and food.
Mr Furner said that, currently, electric ants were found only in North Queensland. “Worryingly, one in five of all our electric ant infestations have been found in the Kuranda, Myola, Speewah and Koah areas,” he said.
“Electric ants are a significant environmental, health and agricultural pest so it is in everyone’s interest to lend a hand to eradicate them. Even if you can’t be involved on the days, you can do simple things to reduce the risk of bringing electric ants onto your property.”
“For example, if buying or swapping pot plants or cuttings, get them checked or self-quarantine them and, if you see any suspect ants or are being stung in your garden or pool, contact the program on 13 25 23 or by visiting www.daf.qld.gov.au/anthunt to register for a free yard check.”