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Check your gear for Argentine Ants

21 Dec 2017

Argentine ant.People heading North for their summer holidays this year are urged to check their camping equipment and holiday gear for Argentine ants, including backpacks and tents that may have been stored for long periods.

 The ants typically enter Northland by hitching rides in camping equipment and caravans, and the Northland Regional Council’s biosecurity team is asking people to make sure all their outdoor gear is ant-free before they travel around the region.

 “We need people to be vigilant because these ants will establish nests in just about anything, and once they’ve done so, it’s very hard to get rid of them,” says Biosecurity Manager (Partnerships and Strategy) Kane McElrea. “They are listed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.”

 Northland’s east coast is particularly attractive to the ants because they thrive in dry, sandy areas and places where there is concentrated human activity, such as campgrounds, where they can find their way into all sorts of nooks and crannies.

 To assist with Argentine ant control, the regional council is introducing new suppression rules in its proposed Regional Pest and Marine Pathway Management Plan.

 The rules make it an offence to knowingly transport, distribute or sell material or equipment that may contain Argentine ants, and require land occupiers whose land is a portal for active Argentine ant infestations to implement a management programme to control or contain them.

There is only one effective bait and it must be used in a very specific way. Registered pest control operators can supply the bait and give instructions for using it.

 Mr McElrea says people who are not sure if their ants are Argentine ants can get them identified by freezing them in a screw-top container and bringing them into a regional council office.

 To find out more about Argentine ants, visit the regional council’s Pest Control Hub www.nrc.govt.nz/pestcontrolhub