Australia's leading ABHA eradication expert, Dr Ben Hoffmann from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), recently visited LHI to assist in reviewing the eradication strategy. A new approach, has been developed, which builds on experience gained from previous work on the Island.
The ABHA eradication project is on track however has ceased over the cooler winter months while ABHAs are less active. The project will resume from October 2012 to May 2013. Surveys to map the current distribution of ABHA on LHI will be conducted in all known infestation sites throughout the settlement area and all walking tracks in the Permanent Park Preserve. Surveys will be done by visual searches in areas likely to have or are known to harbor ABHAs, such as around buildings, sheds, gardens, paved areas, roadways, other human infrastructure, beneath rocks, logs, pot plants, loose building materials and other debris, along the edges of pastures and throughout the golf course. Once ABHA's are detected using visual surveys, more systematic surveys using untreated canned fish will be used to lure the ABHA to enable accurate mapping of the extent of the infestation.
All infested areas, including all buildings within known infestation areas, will be treated with Amdro® (BASF, Australia). These buildings will be treated internally using bait stations, which will be regularly replenished. Follow up treatment will be undertaken until eradication has been achieved and the ABHA has been undetected for 2 years.
Further information can be obtained from:
- The Factsheet on African Big-headed Ant eradication - this provides information on the eradication program, and the methodology;
- The African Big-headed Ant Workplan to guide the eradication of the African Big-headed Ant (Pheidole megacephala) for Lord Howe Island (the Strategy) - this provides all details regarding the project;
- Lord Howe Island Pesticide Notification Plan 2010;
- Material Safety Data Sheet; and
- Frequently asked questions and answers below.
Anyone wishing to contact the LHIB to discuss the eradication plan should contact:
Christo Haselden (Ranger) or Hank Bower (World Heritage Manager)
Lord Howe Island Board
Lord Howe Island NSW 2898
Phone: (02) 6563 2066 Fax: (02) 6563 2127
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
How will I know when people are coming to my lease?
You will be contacted prior to field staff visiting your lease during all stages of the program. You will receive a phone call seeking your agreement to have field staff conduct surveys around your lease and residence. If an infestation is found on your lease you will receive another phone call seeking agreement to treat the affected areas, which may include treatment inside buildings. However you may wish to agree to all works being undertaken on your property without ongoing contact.
How often will people come onto my lease?
Once your lease has been surveyed and if an infestation is present, treatment will be undertaken as soon as possible. Following this, post-treatment surveys will be undertaken between 3-4 months after treatment. Should an infestation be found again, re-treatment will need to occur. Eradication is achieved when no ABHA would have been found for two consecutive years.
Will the treatment impact on pets and wildlife?
All infestation areas will be treated using Amdro® (BASF, Australia) and clearly flagged.
Amdro® is not considered hazardous to pets, livestock or children, when used in accordance with the product label. However it should be placed away from food stuffs and out of the reach of children and animals.
When broadcast outdoors, Amdro® breaks down within one day of being exposed to the elements. When applied within bait stations or under shelter, Amdro® can remain effective for up to 12 weeks.
Will the treatment impact on the aquatic and marine environment?
Amdro® is toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, so the treatment will only be applied in dry conditions and care will be taken to avoid contaminating waterways, including dams. Field staff will be trained in the proper use of Amdro®. When broadcast outdoors, Amdro® breaks down within one day of being exposed to the elements. Meaning Amdro® will not persist in the environment after treatment.
How can I help?
The overall success of the project depends on the cooperation of the community. You can help by:
- Notifying the LHIB of any ant's you expect are the ABHA (see the Factsheet on ABHA eradication for information on identifying ABHA). If you are unsure about the identification of an Ant, please contact the LHIB as a precaution.
What if I am still concerned about any aspects of the eradication program?
Should you have any questions about the program, please contact the LHIB to discuss or arrange an on-site inspection.