Ways to help manage invasive ants
When an incursion has occurred it is essential to prevent the ants from spreading. This is achieved by imposing movement controls that are enforceable by law under the Biosecurity Act or equivalent. A public awareness campaign is needed to support the movement controls.
|Similarly to passive surveillance, multiple media can be used to spread the message. Whichever media are chosen the key messages for movement controls are:
(© Queensland Govt DAF sign for movement control area)
This Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries web site details areas where movement controls are in place (with maps), which materials were deemed to be high risk and instructions on how to deal with them, was set up for an incursion of little fire ants (also known as electric ants). An information leaflet detailing who to contact for disposal of high risk items from the restricted area was also made available.
Web pages are a great way of spreading information, but they are passive, and sometimes can be very difficult to get set up quickly. In situations where setting up a web page is not practical, this information could be more effectively distributed via public or village meetings, and as printed leaflets and posters placed in public meeting places and high traffic areas.
This United States Department of Agriculture leaflet explains to truckers how to prevent red imported fire ants from hitching a ride to new locations on their vehicle in an easy to distribute form.
Hawai'i Ant Lab provides monthly ant management clinics for residents, community leaders and other interested people. They cover pretty much everything you want to know about managing little fire ants around homes. The clinics last for a full day and cover the basics of ant management theory and practice including safe and appropriate bait use.
If there is a problem ant in your area, consider developing a similar clinic to empower residents to help deal problem ants. Contact the Hawai't Ant Lab if you are in Hawai'i or Pacific Biosecurity if you are elsewhere and would like help in creating ant management clinics.