Biosecurity
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Updates

Current control activities

Tramp ant sentinel surveys

The Far North is currently impacted by two legislated pest ants’ species, broadly termed invasive tramp ants; electric ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) and yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes). Biosecurity Services conduct quad-annual sentinel surveys of transfer stations in the local government area to detect the presence of tramp ants before they become established. Tramp ants can reduce species diversity, modify habitat structure and alter ecosystem processes, forming ‘supercolonies’ with multiple queens that facilitate rapid and extensive colonisation. They are most readily translocated by human activity, hitching rides in anything from garden materials and building waste to pot plants and green waste. For more information, see the Yellow Crazy Ant Fact Sheet or contact Biosecurity Services on 4069 5444 or by .

Encapsulated herbicide treatment

Biosecurity Services are trialing a unique herbicide application technique at the Cooktown Airport using a method developed by the University of Queensland and BioHerbicides Australia. Treatment consists of a 35-40 mm deep hole being drilled into the stem of a selected plant. A capsule (7 mm x 20 mm) containing herbicide is inserted into the cavity which is then plugged; plant death usually occurs in a few weeks.      

There are several advantages to this method, including:

  • Reduced need for PPE as there is no operator exposure to the herbicide
  • The technique can be undertaken in all weather conditions and there is no spray drift
  • Completely target specific, no unintended plant mortality
  • Up to 75% less chemical can be used reducing the volume of herbicide released into the environment
  • No run-off or groundwater contamination
  • Delivery is undertaken using dry herbicides making it easier to treat infestations where water/solvents are not easily accessible
  • Herbicides and equipment can amount to two or three kilograms rather than hundreds of kilograms
  • Herbicides can be applied year round

The University and BioHerbicides Australia have also developed a prototype applicator that is able to drill holes, insert a capsule and plug the cavity in one action (see link at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2lfYpJONmCk). If commercially produced the applicator will result in this technique saving time when compared to more traditional spray methods. The technology has considerable future potential in the control of invasive trees and shrubs such as parkinsonia, prickly acacia and pond apple. For more information, see the BioHerbicides Australia website or contact Biosecurity Services on 4069 5444 or by .

Rubber vine

Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) control work was undertaken by Biosecurity Services on the Peninsula Developmental Road between Cooktown and Lakeland, Lakeland and Laura, and Lakeland and the Mareeba Shire boundary. More than 4000 rubber vine plants were treated with a highly effective herbicide solution. Rubber vine is a woody-perennial vine that is native to south-west Madagascar. It is a significant weed in northern Australia. For more information, see the Rubber Vine Fact Sheet or contact Biosecurity Services on 4069 5444 or by .

Gamba grass

Gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus) control work was undertaken by Biosecurity Services on local roads throughout Cooktown and Musgrave, and on the Peninsula Developmental Road between Musgrave and Weipa. Native to Africa's tropical and subtropical savannas, gamba grass is a perennial tussock grass and useful cattle feed. However, mismanaged gamba grass can replace native plants and increase fire risk. For more information, see the Gamba Grass Fact Sheet or contact Cook Shire Council Biosecurity Services on 4069 5444 or by .

Sicklepod

Sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) control work was undertaken by Biosecurity Services on local roads throughout Cape York Peninsula. Sicklepod invades and completely dominates pastures and other disturbed areas such as roadsides, fence lines, creek banks and disturbed areas. Sicklepod is unpalatable to domestic stock, however cattle and horses will eat mature seed, which can pass through the animal and germinate in dung. For more information, see the Sicklepod Fact Sheet or contact Cook Shire Council Biosecurity Services on 4069 5444 or by .

ABN: 45 425 085 688

10 Furneaux Street Cooktown, Qld 4895

Mail: PO Box 3 Cooktown, Qld 4895

Email: mail@cook.qld.gov.au

Phone: (07) 4069 5444

Fax: (07) 4082 0588