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Yellow crazy ants eradication

An infestation of yellow crazy ants was discovered near Yamba, on Goodwood Island, in July 2004. As one of the world’s worst invasive species (according to the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union), the ants were quickly eradicated before they could significantly compromise the local environment.

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Instead of biting or stinging, yellow crazy ants spray formic acid when they attack other animals, irritating their eyes and skin. The ants also have the ability to form multi-queened super-colonies with very high densities. This makes them a serious pest. On Christmas Island, for example, super-colonies have detrimentally impacted the local red crab population.

When the infestation was discovered at Goodwood Island wharf — the first known occurrence in NSW — an eradication program was convened to stem the threat. This program, jointly run by NSW National Parks and the Department of Primary Industries, commenced in September 2004, and achieved its goal by January 2006, when the area was found to be free of yellow crazy ants. No subsequent survey has found any new infestations, and in March 2010, the ants were declared as having been eradicated entirely. Nevertheless, local authorities continue to monitor the environment to ensure it remains clear of dangerous invasive species.

A new infestation of yellow crazy ants was confirmed in the Lismore region in May 2018. NSW National Parks and the Environment and Heritage Group are working with Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services, Lismore City Council and Rous County Council to eradicate this infestation. Department of Primary Industries is leading the eradication effort and offers a factsheet with information about what to look for and how to help stop the spread of yellow crazy ants.