Townsville City Councill has started treating more than 500 hectares of land for Yellow Crazy Ants.

Council started a targeted bait drop this week at affected areas at Alligator Creek and Julago to control the invasive species.

Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said the treatments would be the first of five to take place over the next 12 months.

“Yellow Crazy Ants have become a critical biosecurity concern for Townsville and Council has been on the front foot in trying to control it,” Cr Soars said. “Yellow Crazy Ants are one of the world’s top 100 worst invasive species that cause a loss of biodiversity which then impacts plant populations, pollination, seed dispersal and decomposition of organic matter. The federal government is providing Council with $12 million dollars over the next four years to go towards control and eradication measures to tackle the pest species across the Townsville region. Coordinated efforts using drones and helicopters to drop baits at Alligator Creek and Julago will continue until Friday 10 November. Council will use an ant bait called Antoff Fipronil, which is a specialised granular bait which settles among grass and gardens.

“The bait is harmless to wildlife, pets, horses and livestock.”

Cr Soars said Council has already identified infestations and notified affected property owners at Alligator Creek, Black River, Douglas, Mt St John, Nome and Stuart.

“Yellow Crazy Ants are a fast-moving pest species which can cause a significant amount of damage to the ecosystem,” he said. “We are encouraging the community to help us identify further possible infestation sites. Our website features a lot of information about Yellow Crazy Ants including what they look like. If residents notice any Yellow Crazy Ants, even if they can’t be 100 per cent sure then I would encourage them to report it to Council on 13 48 10.”

For more information about Yellow Crazy Ants, visit Council’s website.