Browsing ant eradication program on track

A Queensland-based odour detection dog and her handler have spent two weeks in Darwin assisting with efforts to eradicate browsing ant from several infested sites.

Black Labrador Willow and her handler Justin Gibson are from the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program and this is their third visit to Darwin since browsing ant was first detected in August 2015.

Browsing ant, Lepisiota frauenfeldi, is an ant-eating species that forms super colonies and can displace native ant species and most other invertebrates in the area of infestation. It is exotic to Australia and poses a threat to Australia’s environment and agricultural industries

Willow has been trained to detect browsing ant odour and is so skilled at detecting the exotic pest that she is able to sniff out a single ant from several meters away.

Since the original detection in 2015, browsing ants have been contained due to ongoing tracing, surveillance and control measures to identify and treat infested sites.

There are currently 20 properties in Darwin with an infested premise status, meaning browsing ant has been detected on the premise.

Several infested sites are now nearing the end of the treatment and two-year surveillance period. Provided no ants are detected during the final survey period these properties will be declared free of browsing ant by the end of the year.

If you think you have seen a browsing ant population please contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Further information on browsing ant is available on the Northern Territory Government website.

Odour detection dog Willow and handler Justin Gibson
Willow and handler Justin Gibson