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Surveillance program for electric ants

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

Conducting regular surveillance for electric ants is vital to prevent the spread of this serious pest.

Formal surveillance by Biosecurity Queensland field officers uses a range of techniques that consist of both food lures and traps using a three-dimensional approach—that is, looking not just on the ground but also up into trees.

A variety of these techniques are used to ensure the tiny pest is detected if it is present, including:

  • on-ground lures
  • in-ground pit-fall traps
  • in-tree canopy traps

Proactive surveillance by field officers

Footpath and targeted surveillance using on-ground lures are efficient and effective methods of detecting electric ant in residential areas and you may see our field officers carrying out this activity in your suburb.

To attract the ants, field officers use hotdog sausage lures that are attached to pink taped wooden skewers. These lures do not contain chemicals and are safe if a pet accidentally consumes them.

Do not remove the lures—if you have any queries or concerns, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Setting lures for electric ants
© Queensland Government

Sniffer dogs and abseilers are also used in the surveillance program. Sniffer dogs can detect electric ants with great accuracy and abseilers can put lures in hard-to-reach places.

These tools increase confidence in surveillance results.

Electric ant odour detection dog
© Queensland Government

Reporting electric ants

Community participation is vital to the successful control of electric ants. Although they are not easy to identify because of their small size, we ask that everyone search their yard, business premises and community spaces and report any suspect ants.

To report suspect ants, you can:

If you have reported before and had a negative result, please do not hesitate to contact us again as electric ants are easily transportable and therefore may have been brought to your property, or an adjoining property, since we last visited.

If you are stung and experience a reaction, seek medical advice.

Electric ants are tiny and form slow-moving foraging trails.
© Queensland Government