Ant hunt campaign leads to record engagement
National Electric Ant Eradication Program Director Sarah Corcoran inspected key locations around Cairns to ensure the program would deliver on its goal of complete eradication by mid-2016.
“The challenge at this point of the eradication program is to keep our surveillance activities operating at full speed despite not finding any new electric ant nests,” she said.
“Finding the last 1 per cent of ant nests takes as much effort as finding the first 99 per cent.
“We have to check and re-check every inch of the region. Checking an area and being confident that there are no ants there is just as important as finding a new nest.
“We’ve had a record response from the Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Port Douglas and Tableland’s communities during this campaign.
“So far with the support of the community, we have checked more than 1650 residential blocks for electric ants since the ant hunt campaign began in April.
“It is evident that people recognise how devastating these pests could be to the region and they want to help us get rid of them.
“We are particularly interested in checking people’s yards for electric ants if they have moved house, or bought or swapped potted plants in the last five years.
“Electric ants like to live in pot plants and garden litter, and because they are so small and difficult to identify, it really does take one of our expert field staff to confirm that your property doesn’t have them.
“If you are thinking of spreading Christmas cheer by giving a pot plant as a present you may be spreading electric ants unless the plants have been checked first.
“While the battle against electric ants in Far North Queensland looks like being won, with complete eradication likely by July 2016, we still need the support from local residents.
“A yard check is quick and easy, so go on line and register for a FREE yard inspection today.”
Residents and businesses who have bought or swapped pot plants in the past five years, or who suspect they might have electric ants can register online at www.anthunt.daf.qld.gov.au for a free property check.
Residents must remember not to move plants or other risk materials if they are under movement controls, and if in doubt they can check with Biosecurity Queensland by calling 13 25 23.
Electric ants are a serious invasive species that has the potential to ruin our Queensland way of life, affect our health and have serious environmental impacts.
For further information, visit www.anthunt.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.