Declared Pest Plants & Animals
The Townsville Biosecurity Plan outlines Council's strategies for preventing the introduction, eradicating and containing restricted pest plants and animals in Townsville.
Yellow Crazy Ant
Yellow Crazy Ants are a critical biosecurity priority in Townsville LGA, with five known infestations. Contact Council to report any ants suspected to be Yellow Crazy Ants. Townsville City Council does not deal with any other ant or general pest control.
Fire Ants and Electric Ants are not known to occur in Townsville. If you suspect sightings of tramp ants other than Yellow Crazy Ants, please report sightings to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
About Yellow Crazy Ants
Yellow Crazy Ants are listed as one of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species, and one of the world’s worst tramp ants. Their true origin is unknown due to their rapid colonisation of countries around the world, however experts suspect Yellow Crazy Ants originate from Africa or south-east Asia.
Impacts: Yellow Crazy Ants form super colonies with dense populations. The sheer number of ants overwhelm both invertebrates and vertebrates, causing a loss of biodiversity. This then causes impacts to plant populations, disrupting natural processes in environments such as pollination, seed dispersal and decomposition of organic matter.
People’s lifestyles are impacted, and pets can receive acid burns from the formic acid sprayed by Yellow Crazy Ants. Impacts include damage to household electrical appliances and wiring. Agriculture and horticulture industries are also impacted.
- Yellow to brownish ant with long and slender body (approximately 5mm long)
- Abdomen is dark brown, sometimes striped
- Legs and antennae are very long
- Walking style is erratic.
Preventing the Spread
Human-assisted spread is far larger than natural spread (raft downstream, natural expansion). Yellow Crazy Ants are often unknowingly transported, commonly in freight pallets and packaging, timber products and landscaping supplies.
Help prevent the spread of Yellow Crazy Ants:
- Do not sell produce or items that contain Yellow Crazy Ants
- Take a good photo and report ants suspected to be YCAs to Council
- When ordering agricultural or horticultural products, ask suppliers what invasive biosecurity matter is possible/likely to be in their products before buying, and decide for yourself whether you can deal with the biosecurity risk
- Companies should develop a pest management plan relevant to biosecurity risks associated with their business
- Treat areas where the risk of spread is heightened (e.g. stored pallets, crushing plants, etc).
Locations in Townsville
- Alligator Creek
- Black River
- Mt St John
- Townsville City Biosecurity Plan 2020-2024 (PDF, 7.7 MB)
- Quick Reference Guide Biosecurity Plan - Yellow Crazy Ant (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Department of Agriculture & Fisheries
- Townsville - Yellow Crazy Ants- Townsville City Council
- What yellow crazy ants can do to Australia's Wet Tropics - Invasive Species Council
Council has surveyed areas of Douglas for Yellow Crazy Ants, finding the tramp ant has infested 13.35ha. The known infestation is being targeted for three treatments. Yellow Crazy Ants forage up to 100m from their nest, so a buffer around the infestation will be included to ensure the ants take enough bait back to the nest for an effective treatment. The treatment area (infestation + buffer) totals 76.77ha.
On-ground treatment for local eradication of the known infestation has already commenced on public land.
Treatment through residential Douglas
Three treatments are planned, with at least three months between each treatment.
First treatment commenced: 26 October 2020
Anticipated conclusion of third treatment: 30 June 2021
Who will be impacted:
All properties inside the yellow shaded area on the map.
What to expect:
- You will receive a letter 1-7 days before the external areas of your property is expected to be treated.
- Authorised Officers will enter external areas of all properties within the shaded area through the Prevention and Control Program for Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
- External areas such a lawns and gardens will be treated with a small, granular bait. Indoor areas do not need to be treated and will not be entered.
- Officers will provide a Pest Control Advice notification when the property has been treated.
- It will take an estimated 30 minutes to treat the property.
Product to be used:
In residential properties, Antoff Fipronil Ant Bait will be used. The granular bait is a specialised product not currently available to public. Antoff has the same active ingredient as regular termite treatments, at a significantly lower dose than termites are treated with. The bait granules settle amongst grass and gardens, inaccessible to pets.
What do I need to do?
- Ensure Council officers have free access to external areas of your property
- Allow safe entry to Council officers by restraining aggressive pets
- Please wait 24 hours to water once the property has been treated, temporarily turn off irrigation if necessary.
- If you would like to book a time for officers to treat the property, or have further questions regarding the Yellow Crazy Ant treatment, please contact Council.
What if I am outside the treatment area?
If your property is outside the treatment area, please look for ants, and send a good photo of any you think may be Yellow Crazy Ants to Council. Council will identify the ants and notify you of the outcome.
If Yellow Crazy Ants are detected further out and your property needs to be treated, a Council officer will contact you.
How many times will my property be treated?
Three treatments are needed.
Treatment 1: October-November 2020
Treatment 2: Timing dependent on the success of first treatment, weather conditions and permit approval. Minimum three months from first treatment.
Treatment 3: Timing dependent on the success of previous treatments, environmental conditions and permit approval. Minimum three months from second treatment. The final treatment is expected to be completed by 30 June 2021.
Feral horses are horses that are not owned and are wandering unmanaged. The purpose of managing feral horses in Townsville is to manage the risk to human life from large animals within road corridors.
In Townsville, feral horses have been located in the suburbs of Alligator Creek, Black River and Bluewater Park. Feral horses pose a road safety risk owing to their size and tendency to wander on road corridors. Feral horses also cause erosion, damage vegetation, spread weeds and effect graziers.
Any person that wishes to capture and rehome feral horses must have the permission of the landowner/occupier, and comply with all regulations, laws and humaneness codes i.e. Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, National Livestock Identification System, and Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011.
Best practice feral horse control can be found on the Pest Smart website.
For more information, download the feral horse fact sheet (PDF, 2.0 MB)
Dingoes / wild dogs
Dogs, wild dogs, feral dogs and dingoes: what's the difference?
Wild dogs are all dogs that are not domesticated including dingoes, feral dogs and hybrids/crosses between the two.
Dingoes are native Australian dogs believed to have migrated from South-East Asia about 5000 years ago, and have had a lasting natural impact on Australian native animals.
Dingoes are not easily distinguished from domestic dogs. They can be identified only by detailed skull measurements, relative tooth size and by their genetic makeup. They:
- Are usually ginger and yellow with white feet and chest
- May be pure white, ginger, black and tan, or pure black, and
- Breed only once a year, in early winter.
Feral dogs are abandoned or strayed domestic dogs living in a wild state in the bush or in an urban environment.
Domestic dogs are all dogs bred and kept as pets, guard dogs or working dogs. They may also behave like wild dogs if they are free roaming and not adequately controlled.
Dingoes and wild dogs are restricted invasive animals under the Biosecurity Act 2014. A Dingo must not be moved, kept, fed, given away, sold or released into the environment without a permit. Legally, the primary responsibility for wild dog control lies with landholders. In built-up areas the local government may help coordinate control programs.
- the availability of water on farms and potential prey such as native animal species, livestock and rabbits as well as the availability of food due to with human settlement.
- In rural areas dingoes/ wild dogs can reduce the viability of sheep, goat and cattle farming.
- Dingoes/wild dogs can be a hazard to livestock, poultry, pets and humans in boundary areas between urban and rural environments.
- Dingoes/wild dogs can carry both canine and human diseases, including distemper, neospora, canine parvovirus and hydatid worms.
There is no evidence to suggest that pure dingoes, feral dogs or a cross between the two occur in Townsville. If you see what appears to be a feral dog, it is more likely to be a dingo hybrid or of dingo origin. In most cases, Council treats all problem animals in Townsville as wild dogs.
Council has a Wild Dog Management Strategy for managing the impacts of wild dogs. This strategy specifies priorities for action in the management of dingoes and wild dogs in the urban and rural areas in Townsville.
Biosecurity Queensland has more information on dingoes and wild dogs.
Download the wild dog fact sheet (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Fire ants are from South America and are native to the floodplains of the Paraguay River in Brazil, Paraguay and Northern Argentina.
In Australia, there have been six separate incursions of fire ants. Five recorded in Queensland; and one in Port Botany NSW.
If you have sighted a Fire Ant contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Feral pigs are a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and a high priority for control under the Townsville Local Government Area Pest Management Plan. It is illegal to move, feed, give away, sell or release feral pigs into the environment without a permit. The Townsville Local Government Area Plan to outlines actions to contain feral pigs, including trapping and baiting.
Biosecurity Queensland has more information and factsheets on feral pigs.
Indian Myna Bird
The Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) is a native bird to India, Asia and the Middle East. It was introduced to Australia in the 1860’s and has been established as an invasive species. The Indian Myna reduces biodiversity, impacts agriculture and has the potential to affect human and animal health through disease transmission. To find out more about the Indian Myna and the impacts it causes, download the Indian Myna Bird Fact Sheet.
Under the Townsville Local Government Area Pest Management Plan the Indian Myna Bird (Magnetic Island only) has been identified as a pest animal for early detection and eradication.
Parthenium is a serious weed that will grow anywhere. It is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and has been identified as a high priority local pest plant for early detection and eradication under the Townsville Local Government Area Pest Management Plan. There are infestations in the rural areas of Townsville which are currently being surveyed and treated.
Biosecurity Queensland has more information on the Parthenium weed.
Wild peafowl (peacocks) are found on Mount Stuart and Magnetic Island. Council is working with landholders to remove wild peafowl from their properties.
For more information, download the Peafowl Fact Sheet (PDF, 230.1 KB)
There are a number of species of fish in Townsville's waterways that compete with native fish for resources and threaten the natural ecosystem of our rivers.
For more information, download the Pest Fish Fact Sheet (PDF, 345.1 KB)
Thunbergia Fragrans is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2015. It must not be given away, sold or released into the environment without a permit.
Biosecurity Queensland has more information on thunbergia fragrans.
European rabbits are a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and are noted as a medium priority for control under Townsville's Pest Management Plan. It is illegal to move, feed, give away, sell or release rabbits into the environment without a permit
Rabbits are not permitted to be kept by residents in Queensland. Biosecurity Queensland regulates the keeping of rabbits.
Rubber Vine, Chinee Apple, Prickle Bushes, and Lantana
These restricted plants are so widespread in Townsville that the management objective is to contain them to their existing extent. Eradication of these plats will form part of a long term strategy.
Notifying council about pests
Have you discovered a new weed or a new infestation of an existing weed? Seen a pest animal that you haven't noticed in Townsville before?
- Download the Declared Pest Permit (PDF, 125.9 KB)
Keep up-to-date with handy tips and alerts before, during and after disaster events.