Exotic ants

Browsing ant

Browsing ants were identified in the Darwin Port region on 6 August 2015.

The browsing ant (Lepisiota frauenfeldi) is exotic and has not established in Australia.

The browsing ant is a slender ant with a shiny dark brown uniform. It is 3 to 4mm long with long antennae and long legs. When disturbed, they run around in a haphazard manner.

Browsing ants are commonly found in Timor Leste and Malaysia.

Browsing ants


Browsing ants can form multi-queened, super colonies and eat and displace native ant species, as well as other insects. They are not harmful to humans.

The colonies can cause damage to plants and landscaping.


Affected landholders in the Darwin port region have been told to restrict movement of any cargo, materials or equipment off the sites.

Successful control has included applying a granulated product targeted at browsing ants and following this with a ground spray of ant treatment.

Surveillance of the areas after treatment will determine if more treatment is needed. Monitoring of the area continues for two years before eradication can be declared.

Browsing ants can be contained and eradicated from these areas, as has been the case for the outbreak in Perth Airport in 2013 and in cases overseas.

Report browsing ants

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

You can also report browsing ants using the following contacts:

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Last updated: 14 June 2019

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