Browsing ants

Page last updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2017 - 6:10pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

2015 Northern Territory detection

A browsing ants detection at Darwin seaport was confirmed on 6 August 2015. The Department of Agriculture is working closely with the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries to conduct surveillance and tracing activities.

These activities have resulted in two additional detections in the Darwin port area, which have been quarantined. A response plan is being developed to eradicate Browsing ants from Darwin.

2014 Western Australian detection

Background

In April 2013 an exotic ant species was collected at the Perth Airport precinct on Commonwealth land, and subsequently identified as browsing ant, Lepisiota frauenfeldi. The infested area, including a 50 metre buffer zone was identified as 60 hectares. This area was found to have high browsing ant populations resulting in displaced native ants and damage to plants and landscaping.   

The ants were collected during a Federal Department of Agriculture survey targeted at premises that handle international cargo.

Browsing ants were subsequently detected in August 2014 at Belmont. This was a separate, but linked infestation as the ants may have been introduced to the Belmont site via freight from the Perth Airport site.

Eradication activities

DAFWA was contracted to undertake eradication activities on behalf of the Commonwealth at the Perth Airport. Granular baits containing an insect growth regulator designed to sterilise the queens, customised to attract browsing ants, were broadcast across the 60 hectare infested area, followed by a spray treatment two weeks later.

No browsing ants have been seen at the Perth Airport since April 2014.

Eradication efforts at the Belmont site are underway.

Ongoing surveillance

Following eradication activities, surveillance will be undertaken to detect if there are surviving browsing ants. Eradication may be declared after a two-year period with no evidence of surviving colonies.

 

 

In WA, an eradication program by the Australian Department of Agriculture and DAFWA in these areas is currently underway. In Darwin, the Department of Agriculture is working closely with the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries to conduct surveillance and tracing activities.

These activities have resulted in two additional detections in the Darwin port area, which have been quarantined. A response plan is being developed to eradicate Browsing ants from Darwin.

 

Contact information

Marc Widmer
+61 (0)8 9368 3062