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23 April, 2021

Cane burn to short circuit electric ant spread

AN OVERGROWN sugar cane field at Smithfield will be burnt soon to help Biosecurity Queensland eradicate electric ants.

 National Electric Ant Eradication Program Coordinator Gary Morton said the cane field, which had old, non-harvestable cane and was full of weeds, was infested with electric ants.

 “Burning the field will allow Biosecurity Queensland officers to enter the field safely to treat the ants and help our efforts to eradicate electric ants from Far North Queensland,” Mr Morton said.

 “The farmer who owns the cane field has obtained the necessary fire permits and, depending on weather conditions, the burn is expected to be done before the end of April.

 “Completing this burn will allow Biosecurity Queensland officers to treat the area safely and ensure that our bait treatment will reach the ground and be taken away by the ants.”

 Mr Morton said while there may be smoke and smut which might inconvenience some people, not eradicating electric ants was far more serious and would cause far worse issues in the longer term.

 “Electric ants are a serious invasive species that has the potential to ruin our Queensland way of life, affect our health and have serious environmental impacts,” Mr Morton said.

 “We recognise burning this field could cause some people some discomfort and thank them for the patience and understanding when this burn is done.

 “Biosecurity Queensland also appreciates the cooperation of the landholder, farmer, local council, and the Rural Fire Service in working together to eradicate electric ants from Cairns and Australia.”

 Electric ants are tiny golden brown ants about 1.5 mm long and can inflict a painful sting resulting in itchy and persistent pimples.

 For more information on the electric ant eradication program or to report electric ants, visit or call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

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