Aerial treatment begins to eradicate Yellow Crazy Ants in southern suburbs

Date published: 18 November 2021

Townsville City Council has started the first of three Yellow Crazy Ant treatments in Alligator Creek, Brookhill, Julago and Elliot Springs today.

The treatment is expected to take two days to be completed and will be undertaken by a local contractor using a helicopter with an underslung bucket.

Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said Yellow Crazy Ants were listed as one of the world’s worst invasive species.

“Council takes pest management seriously and eradicating any known Yellow Crazy Ant infestations in the region is a priority,” Cr Soars said.

“There are five known infestations of Yellow Crazy Ants in Townsville and Council is working to ensure these infestations do not spread further and are eradicated.

“The first of three aerial treatments in Alligator Creek, Brookhill, Julago and Elliot Springs will be applied today and tomorrow by helicopter.

“The helicopter will be flying at low altitude and in some cases in close proximity of properties in order to spread the granules effectively.”

He said while the granules were not harmful, some animals including stock and pets, may be frightened by the activity.

“We ask animal owners in the area to please take measures to ensure your pet and livestock safety and containment while the treatment is undertaken.

“Council officers are also continuing to treat a smaller infestation at Goondaloo Creek.”

Cr Soars said the Yellow Crazy Ant treatment had long-term benefit to the environment and animals.

“One of the complicating factors for treating the infestations of Yellow Crazy Ants is just how large the super colonies can get and to effectively treat them we do need to access properties,” Cr Soars said.

“If we don’t access a property and treat any known colonies, it does undermine the treatment as a whole and risks the infestation re-establishing itself.

“It’s crucial for the community and Council to work together to eradicate these pests.

“That’s why it’s critical that the community knows what Yellow Crazy Ants are, how to recognise them and tells us if they think they may have a colony on their property.

“Residents located within infestation areas have reported poultry loss, clogged pool filters, stress to stock, and Yellow Crazy Ants inhabiting homes.

“Human action is the most prominent way the Yellow Crazy Ants spread so things like checking where your soil and mulch have been sourced from and what potential biosecurity risks it might carry is important.”

Yellow Crazy Ants form super colonies with dense populations that can overwhelm native species, causing a loss of biodiversity, impacting plant populations and interrupting pollination and seed dispersal. They are a yellow-brownish colour, have an erratic walking style and spray formic acid that can burn people and pets.

Visit our Yellow Crazy Ants web page for more information about Yellow Crazy Ants and how to prevent their spread.