ELECTRIC ANT (Wasmannia auropunctata)
Exotic Pest Information
Electric ants: brood and queen ants
The exotic pest commonly known as the electric ant or little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata Roger) was detected in Queensland in May 2006 at Smithfield, a northern Cairns suburb. It has since been found in several other areas in Far North Queensland.
Biosecurity Queensland is undertaking an electric ant eradication program – for the latest information, visit the Queensland Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.
Electric ant has not been detected in Victoria.
What are the Victorian import requirements
Electric ants: queens and workers
To prevent the importation of electric ants into Victoria, the Department of Primary Industries introduced restrictions on the movement into Victoria of any material capable of harbouring electric ants.
Please refer to the Plant Quarantine Manual for a description of these requirements.
For further information, please contact DPI Plant Standards:
T (03) 8371 3500
F (03) 9687 6746
About the electric ant
Electric ants compared to a coin
The electric ant is native to Central and South America, but has established in the West Indies, Mexico, West Africa, Galapagos Islands, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Its impact is similar to red imported fire ants, in that it injects a powerful venom when it stings.
Electric ants spread mostly through human activity with the movement of plants, plant products or edible material. Once the ant has established it is known to spread up to 170m per year.
What to look for
- Adults are very small (about 1.5mm in length) and ginger-coloured.
- The ants tend to nest under leaf debris and stones, in rotten limbs or in trees. They have been known to nest in houses, infested beds, furniture and food.
- Electric ants produce painful, long-lasting stings, often resulting in red, itchy pimples. Sometimes a severe allergic reaction may occur.
- The ant have been known to attack pets, as they are attracted to pet food.
Photographs supplied by and © The State of Queensland, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (2006)
To report suspected electric ants, call the EXOTIC PLANT PEST HOTLINE 1800 084 881