NSW DPI and Local Land Services have led the response to yellow crazy ants in the Lismore region since they were first discovered in May 2018. This is the only known infestation in NSW and is restricted to two sites - the Lismore central business district and Terania Creek, north of Lismore.
Following an extensive surveillance and treatment program both sites remained free of yellow crazy ants until a small colony was identified early in 2021. It was found in part of the Lismore CBD site. Ants have not been found at Terania Creek since 2019.
It is important to keep checking for yellow crazy ants in the Lismore area and other areas of the state.
Yellow crazy ants are highly invasive and can build super colonies that devastate local flora and fauna and impact on agricultural and horticultural production.
They kill large numbers of native insects, frogs, birds, and lizards. The ants squirt formic acid into the eyes of their prey, blinding them before they attack. Small animals die from starvation due to blindness if squirted by the ants.
In northern Queensland they pose serious problems for sugar cane crops and native flora. The ants protect and farm scale, aphids and other sap-sucking insects to feed on their sugary secretions. This practice causes leaf mould and disease in sugar cane and can also change the composition of native vegetation and forests.
Yellow crazy ants are about 5 mm long and can be recognised by their:
They are named 'crazy ants’ due to their frantic movements and frequent changes in direction, especially when disturbed.
Their nests are not obvious and are hard to spot.
For more information visit the interactive Guide to Identifying Exotic Invasive Ants.
Yellow crazy ants are active before rain and storms and can be found on, in or under:
Tell us about any suspicious sightings by visiting the online form.
If unsure it’s helpful if you can:
Don’t disturb the ants or their nests or try to treat the infestation yourself or by using a pest controller, as the ants are likely to move to a new location.
If you find any ants you think could be yellow crazy ants please let us know as soon as possible - even if you are unsure or think we may already know about them.
Yellow crazy ants spread quite slowly by themselves as they tend to walk rather than fly. An established super colony can double in size in 12 months.
They can spread quickly and over long distances when they hitchhike in and on materials and objects including:
Always check for suspect ants and other biosecurity risks before moving these materials and make sure machinery and equipment is clean before moving between properties.
Fipronil is specifically designed to target invertebrate animals (animals without backbones) This product has been tested extensively and there is no evidence that Fipronil is harmful to humans.
The application method used, and the low-strength formulation chosen, present very low risk to non-target species.
Fipronil is not well absorbed by plants and is broken down by sunlight.
As part of the permit conditions the baits were not be placed near waterways or storm water drains.
Yellow crazy ants nest beneath logs and rocks. Photo courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Yellow crazy ants and pupae. Photo courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Yellow crazy ants have unusually long legs and antennae. Photo courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Yellow crazy ants can live in and around pipes. Photo courtesy of The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.