Exotic ants

Exotic ants in NT

Many exotic ants are accidentally introduced to Australia in pot plants, soil or in nests in wood products and other small spaces.

Some exotic ants have characteristics that make them especially invasive in Australia.

These include any of the following:

  • small size
  • large colony sizes, allowing them to swarm around native ants
  • aggressive towards other ants, insects and even small animals - exotic ants will often attack and force out other animals from their territory
  • choose to live near people, where they are provided with food, moisture and shelter.

There are three exotic ants in the Northern Territory (NT).

Yellow crazy ant

The yellow crazy ant is an aggressive ant that has caused declines in invertebrates and vertebrates through competition and predation.

It eats plant seeds so it affects the germination rate of plants.

Yellow crazy ants have been seen removing nectar from plants, making it unavailable for native species.

Read more on yellow crazy ants.

Big-headed ant

The big-headed ant competes with and preys on native vertebrates and invertebrates.

It also eats the seeds of plants.

Read more on big-headed ants.

Ginger ant

Ginger ants prey on native invertebrates and young birds and reptiles.

They affect plants by eating seeds, which damages the seed and affects germination.

A single ginger ant can sting many times, even after its venom sac is empty. In some people, the sting may cause a severe allergic reaction.

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Last updated: 14 June 2019

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