6 Jul 2018
The first phase of the strategic baiting program for yellow crazy ants in the Lismore region has been completed.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Invasive Plants and Animals Dr Andrew Sanger said the lead management agencies, DPI and Local Land Services are confident the initial baiting program is working.
“While people are still seeing some ant movement in the Lismore CBD, there is less ant activity and we are seeing dead ants being removed from nests by workers. The protein based baits are targeted at the queens and larvae so worker ant mortality can be secondary to that of the brood,” Dr Sanger said.
“To ensure the minimum environmental impact we will only bait where we know the ants are present, and to be most effective bait periods should be applied 3 months apart, so we will stop spreading the baits this week except in cases where required.
“By working within these restrictions and allowing for a strategic buffer of 100m around the known infestations, we can maximise the effectiveness of our next baiting period, likely to begin in September, and ensure any risk to the environment is minimised.”
The local control centre will stand down during winter as ant activity is slow in this period, with LLS staff to continue on the ground monitoring.
Dr Sanger said the infestation discovered more recently at Terania Creek will follow a different treatment program, as it is a complex site with rough, steep terrain and bushland.
“We are currently developing a specific strategy that will involve a dedicated person to monitor the site at Terania Creek,” Dr Sanger said.
“We are also still very interested in hearing from anyone discovering suspected yellow crazy ants, and we will have staff on standby to deal with new reports.
“Activities are planned to ramp up again in September with a major strategic surveillance program targeting the broader region, using randomised sampling.
“This approach will help give us greater confidence that we have found all the infestations and we aim to repeat this process next year to establish proof of freedom from the pest.”
Movement restrictions will remain in place while there is still a risk of the ants spreading, but will be regularly reviewed.
The restrictions prevent the transmission of vegetative matter and soil within a five kilometre radius of the Lismore Central Business District.
People needing to move yellow crazy ant material, including grass, park and garden vegetation and clippings, untreated timber, woodchips, soil and sand can obtain a permit online from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/yca.
The Biosecurity Hotline is 1800 680 244.
See vision of yellow crazy ant taking baits at https://spaces.hightail.com/space/7mER1hM2bb
Media contact: DPI Media (02) 6391 3668, 0428 975 091