21 Feb 2019
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) staff will this weekend begin a surveillance blitz across the Lismore district, with over 600 random visits to determine the extent of yellow crazy ants (YCA).
YCA were first detected in central Lismore in May 2018, and an ongoing response has been in place since that time.
State YCA Planning Manager, Scott Charlton, said the latest surveillance operation will help determine if the Lismore infestation is just an isolated event, or if there are further populations in the North Coast area.
'While we are happy with progress on the infestations we know about, we need to be sure that there are no other populations that have not been reported,” he said.
“There has been an impressive response from the community in reporting the ants and fortunately no new sites found outside of the known infestation areas.
“This surveillance weekend will ultimately establish proof of freedom from the ants in the North Coast area.”
Mr Charlton said dog surveillance is also giving DPI some very specific information about the nest locations in the CBD and Terannia Creek areas.
“The great news is we are having some success, with some sites now persistently free of ants, and native ants have moved back in,” he said.
“There has also been a significant decrease in the number of nests and ant sightings, and we now have an APVMA permit for a new bait which is proving very effective in the wet conditions that normally occur in Lismore.
"The recovery of native ant populations suggests that we are getting things right and that environmental impacts are being minimised".
All baiting used during the response follow strict APVMA guidelines and as part of the permit conditions insecticide will not be placed near waterways or stormwater drains.
Teams from NSW SES and RFS will be supported by NSW DPI, Local Land Services and National Parks & Wildlife Service, will conduct the surveillance operation.
For further information on Yellow crazy ants visit www.dpi.nsw.go.au/biosecurity
Media contact: Ellie McNamara (02) 6391 3686