Chris Burwell, senior curator of entomology at the Queensland Museum, says wet, warm weather gets many species of ants on the move.
Chris Burwell, senior curator of entomology at the Queensland Museum, says wet, warm weather gets many species of ants on the move.

Ants are here in the millions

MILLIONS of ants are invading the Fraser Coast, eating us and our food, and they’re not going to go away any time soon.

Their sex life is so highly organised and efficient they are reproducing as fast as we zap them.

Queen ants can store their first hit of sperm for a decade and more.

The worst offenders stinging us right now in the garden and pigging out on our food supplies indoors are the green head ant and the black house ant, says Chris Burwell, senior curator of entomology at the Queensland Museum.

“Ants are always more active when the weather is warmer and wetter.

“In winter they tend to be more sleepy and hang around in their colonies.”

But if we think we have it bad it’s lucky we don’t live in Brisbane, Logan or Ipswich.

In those areas you will be confronted by the worst ant of all, the fire ant.

Coppery-brown in colour with a black or dark-brown abdomen and first discovered here in 2001, fire ants are about to start breeding.

Minister for Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said yesterday that we should watch out for swarms of flying fire ants expected to be visible in the coming months and to report our findings to Biosecurity Queensland.

“Humid weather brought on by hot days and big storms are the trigger for fire ants to try to establish new colonies.”

If a fire ant bites you, seek urgent medical attention.

If a green head gets you, stomp on it.

And if you see more than 30 black ants in your house you may have a significant nest in there.

Mr Burwell said queen ants could live upwards of 10 years and they stored their sperm to create new families of ants in the colony.

“She’s a mother all of the time. Once she dies the colony dies.”

The stinging green head ant is fantastic to look at through a microscope. It is a dark metallic green and purple and is a native of our area.

Black house ants nest in cavities in our homes and are particularly partial to sugary stuff.

“Ants don’t talk. Instead the scout ants leave chemical trails made from their glands and these trails mark the path from the colony to the food source so their mates can find their way accurately,” Mr Burwell said.



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