Electric Ant Eradication Campaign

Submitted by Webmaster on Tue, 31/10/2006 - 09:10

Electric Ants are a South Americanant that is very small,occurs in huge number and stings painfully – something likestubbing outburning matches with your skin.  Currentlythey occur only in a single suburb in Cairns, however they could takeovernearly all of Australia.  Asan issue,they will have as much impact on our life as increasing bushfires andthe greatwater shortage.  The anteradication campaign is likely to run for 6years.  During thefirst 3 years, a campaignof ant baiting will take place and for the following 3 years amonitoringprogram will take place to ensure that all the ants have been killed.  To date theaction has centred on finding out how far theants have already spread and undertaking initial baitings.  The area known to beinfested with ElectricAnts is 78 hectares, which is a little under a square kilometre.  Fortunately, they do notseem to have spreadinto the rainforest hills behind Smithfield. It is critical that the public still keep reportingsuspected ElectricAnts to DPI on 13 25 23.  Ifyou don’tlive anywhere near Cairns or Smithfield, then it is even more importantthatyou report the ants.Field worker spreading ant baitThe initial baiting campaignswhich involved approximately50 field personnel spreading bait have killed about 75% of the antpopulationbut have not resulted in the area with ants being reduced.  The reason why some of theants are survivingappears to that the ants have also infested the trees. As the baiting makes use of a corn meal whichis scattered around on the ground, some of the tree living antsdon’t seem tocome in contact with the bait.  Newbaitsare being experimented with to eradicate the tree based ants.  The active ingedient in the bait is thechemical that is used in flea collars and is harmless to both peopleand pets. Another greatissue is funding.  Ifthe ant control team is not sufficientlyfunded or  thecampaign is abandoned,then the ants will have taken over north Queensland within 10-20 yearsand allof Australia within 50 years.  InSmithfield, the ants have been keeping grown boys out of the swimmingpool andkeeping super tidy hard working gardener types out of their gardens.  Electric Ants are stingingnettles withlegs.  Imagine anAustralia where youcan’t go into a swimming pool, walk across a lawn or go to apark or attendyour garden without being stung.  Thatisthe future unless all of the ants are found and eradicated.  The ants will spoil yourfuture too so make apoint of ringing your State and Federal representative and telling themthatyou think the ants are serious and that you want them killed.  Some politicians do notknow as much aboutimportant issues as you think they would so please ring them.Corn meal based baitIn summary,the ants are confined to a small area and aprofessionally run, well funded campaign should be able to eradicatethem.  However thewar is far from over and thefirst round has only slowed the ant’s campaign to takeAustralia away from usby a few months.  Itis critical to finda way of getting at ants that are not finding the corn meal baits.  It is critical to makesure the governmentfunds the campaign and it is critical to report all suspect ants.

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