Car wiring under attack as tiny ants invade Gulf towns

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Singapore ant in Gulf Country
Tiny terror ... the Singapore ant is wreaking havoc in the Gulf. PIC: www.AntWeb.org

While a mouse plague is wreaking havoc across New South Wales and elsewhere, further north it is an even smaller pest that is causing serious angst … and threatening trouble for grey nomads.

The tiny Trichomymex destructor ants, known as Singapore ants, are running rampant in Gulf of Carpentaria communities Normanton and Karumba, and are chewing through everything from air conditioners to car wiring. 

Normanton mechanic Dean Reeves told the ABC that he was regularly having to deal with car issues caused by the ants.

“They’ll get inside the relays and they must get attracted to something inside there and they get in there and die,” he said. “I’ve seen a Falcon that had ants in just about every relay and all the fans stopped working and cooked the motor.” 

Mr Reeves said during winter he noticed more cars coming in with ants.

“It’s starting to explode again now and it’ll start to dissipate about October,” he said. 

James Cook University invasive species expert Associate Professor Lori Lach said the ants had been in Australia since at least 1910.

“Ants in general are really hard to control … they’ve got this really great division of labour,” Professor Lach told the ABC. “Electrical cabling — they’re nice and warm, cosy places — small crevices, this ant species, being relatively small, is attracted to these things.”

The ants have reportedly been causing big problems in the Gulf Country for almost a decade, leaving residents frustrated at a lack of action by governments to address the issue. 

However, a Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson told the ABC that the ants were an established species and there was no eradication program. 

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8 Responses to Car wiring under attack as tiny ants invade Gulf towns

  1. Well wouldn’t you think they could come up with an eradication programme. They are not native to Australia and it’s costing people lots of money.

  2. Try looking up “FIRE ANTS” which have just invaded an area of North Australia.
    Fire ants make this Singapore ant look very tame.
    I just hope the Fire Ants do not spread any further. They are very aggressive, painful and destructive. You would never be able to camp in the bush anywhere near them..!

  3. We also have these ants at a popular tourist spot over here in W.A. They are so small that they are barely visible.. It is not unusual to see ant dust around the wheels of cars to prevent them from gaining access.

  4. “Fire Ants are the most dangerous. They are extremely aggressive and tough. They will walk across ant dust to get at you. They have killed small animals. People who have been stung have suffered Anaphylactic shock and died.
    They are a more serious invader that the Singapore ant mentioned above.

  5. We have ants at summer time in our wall on.the west side I mix Borax and sugar sprinkle everywhere. I’m not shy on the borax.

  6. We had Ants nest between tins of food in our pantry above the sink in the Caravan. Snall black Ants and they had the whole family there, eggs and all. It took days to clean up. They come up the tyres, along the Chassi and into the working of the van. We found them everywhere. Talc was the only effective way to keep them out of the van.

  7. I was bitten by a rather large ant on the NSW- VIC Boarder. In the bush picking sticks up.Rather concerned about the size, swiped it off. Week later it started getting rather itchy, red & swollen. Not sure what it was. So much bigger than your normal ants. Do you think you can help me please.

    • Probably a blue-bottle or bull ant

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