Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: We are currently updating information following recent Queensland and Australian Government announcements. Find assistance and support for coronavirus affected businesses and industries.

Movement controls for electric ants in Queensland

The search is on for electric ants. Join the Great Backyard Electric Ant Hunt and help eradicate electric ants from Far North Queensland.

To prevent the spread of electric ants, the Queensland Government has implemented movement controls in areas affected by this pest species. These controls apply to individuals and commercial operators, and restrict the movement of materials that could carry electric ants.

The Biosecurity Act 2014 and the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 place obligations on people to reduce the risk of spreading electric ants. If you live in Cairns or the surrounding regions, and your activities involve the movement of material that may harbour electric ants you have a general biosecurity obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that you do not spread electric ants.

Electric ant biosecurity zone

The electric ant biosecurity zone is in place in Far North Queensland in 5 council areas:

  • Cairns Regional
  • Cassowary Coast Regional
  • Tablelands Regional
  • Mareeba Shire
  • Douglas Shire.

Movement controls in place within the biosecurity zone are designed to prevent electric ants from spreading, and are essential to the eradication effort.

The biosecurity zone has 2 levels of restrictions, depending on the level of risk. These are the:

  • restricted zone
  • lesser restrictions area

These areas have been established through a Notice of establishment of a lesser restrictions area within the electric ant biosecurity zone (PDF, 11.3MB).

Restricted zone

Restrictions apply on the movement of electric ant carriers from your property within this area.

Use our interactive map to check if a property is within the restricted zone.

Lesser restrictions area

Your general biosecurity obligation applies in the lesser restrictions area, and you must take all reasonable steps to not spread electric ants by:

  • knowing if you live or work in the restricted zone or the lesser restrictions area of the electric ant biosecurity zone, and what movement controls apply
  • knowing what electric ant carriers are, and how to deal with them to reduce your biosecurity risk
  • knowing what an electric ant looks like
  • reporting suspect ants.

Electric ant carriers

There are restrictions on the movement of materials (electric ant carriers) that can carry electric ants within the electric ant biosecurity zone. Electric ant carriers include, but are not limited to:

  • potted plants
  • cuttings from plants
  • garden waste
  • garden mulch
  • fruit from plants
  • a thing that has come into contact with the ground (e.g. bee hives, pot plants, garden furniture)
  • turf
  • soil
  • baled hay or straw
  • composted materials
  • animal manures
  • material that is a product or by-product of mining or quarrying.

Managing electric ant carriers

When moving electric ant carriers from a property within the restricted zone of the electric ant biosecurity zone, residents and businesses must comply with relevant movement controls.

You must hold a biosecurity instrument permit, which allows you to move an electric ant carrier:

  • between properties within the restricted zone
  • or
  • from a property within the restricted zone to a property outside of the restricted zone.

To request a biosecurity instrument permit, complete the request form or phone Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

We recommend cleaning down machinery, slashers and other equipment before leaving a site within the restricted zone. Completely remove soil and other electric ant carriers from your equipment by:

  • physically removing the material (e.g. scraping or blowing)
  • brushing down
  • washing down or steam cleaning
  • air blasting with an air compressor.

A permit is not required if the electric ant carrier is moved to a waste facility that accepts electric ant carriers, listed in the following table.

Waste facility nameAddress
Babinda Transfer Station Lot 1 Kruckow Road
BABINDA
Bells Creek Waste Transfer Station Off Bruce Highway
DAVESON
Gordonvale Transfer Station Lot 1 Bruce Highway
GORDONVALE
Killaloe Transfer Station and Landfill Lot 170 Killaloe Dump Road
KILLALOE
Kuranda Transfer Station 2186 Kennedy Highway
KOAH
Medalfield Pty Ltd Waste Disposal and Reduction Services 78 Lower Freshwater Road
KAMERUNGA
Mareeba Electric Ant Carrier Waste Facility Hickling Avenue
MAREEBA
Mission Beach Waste Transfer Station Wheatley Road
SOUTH MISSION BEACH
Northern Sands and Waste Management 563 Captain Cook Highway
HOLLOWAYS BEACH
Pioneer North Queensland Pty Ltd and Barron Sand No. 1 Pty Ltd Off Lake Placid Road
CARAVONICA
Portsmith Transfer Station 37–51 Lyons Street
PORTSMITH
Smithfield Transfer Station Lot 1 Dunne Road
SMITHFIELD