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February 1, 2023

DPI has an eye on Lismore’s yellow crazy ants

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

The yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a species of ant, originally from Southeast Asia, that has been accidentally introduced to numerous places in the world – including Lismore.

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.

A surviving population of yellow crazy ant (YCA) is under surveillance and being treated in Lismore following the positive identification of the invasive pest by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Baiting will begin in this weekend

DPI Invasive Species Director, Scott Charlton said baiting will begin in the central business district this weekend, 17 to 18 April, and continue in any affected areas to control YCA infestations.

‘We are working with the North Coast Local Land Services and Lismore City Council, to notify residents and businesses of the process in areas where baiting is planned,’ said Mr Charlton.

‘We are prepared to deal with surviving yellow crazy ant populations and have developed an effective process to quickly respond to ant reports following the initial control and surveillance program conducted between May 2018 and December 2019.

Mr Charlton said that once the report of a suspected yellow crazy ant was received from a member of the public, investigations began, and the control plan was put into action.

Detector dog found ants

‘Following the report and identification of yellow crazy ant in the central business district, a detector dog found ants nearby and infested sites were treated.

‘Ants have been collected for DNA testing to help trace the source of the ants and dog surveillance will continue, to determine if any ants remain after baiting.

‘The good news is that our notification system works, and the community is continuing to work with government to successfully rid our environment of a serious introduced pest.’

Yellow crazy ant is listed as prohibited matter under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, as it is an environmental pest that poses a serious risk to the economy, environment and community.

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and the community can play a vital role in helping rid NSW of yellow crazy ant by reporting signs of suspect ants.

Reports of any suspected exotic ants can be made on the NSW DPI website, https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/forms/report-exotic-ants or by calling the biosecurity hotline, 1800 680 244.

Information to help identify exotic ants is available from NSW DPI, https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/insect-pests/identifying-invasive-ant-species

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