A quick look at the current biosecurity threats posed by invasive species.
The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (pictured above), has been discovered in NSW for the first time, with a single male moth spotted near the Queensland border between Moree and Boggabilla. The fall armyworm is a significant agricultural pest in other parts of the world and following incursions in Queensland, it has also been found in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Pest managers should keep an eye out for this invasive pest. Even if pest managers are unsure of confirming an identification – the caterpillars are very similar to native armyworms – as a reportable pest, any potential sightings need to be reported to Biosecurity.
Whilst there are a number of incursions of yellow crazy ant, Anoplolepsis gracilipes, the incursion in Townsville has reached a critical juncture. The Townsville City Council has been struggling to contain the spread – whilst focused efforts have contained the outbreak in the suburb of Nome, there are four other known infestations that need control programs. The infested area now covers around 900 hectares and the council are appealing to state and federal governments for funding. However, as the yellow crazy ant is no longer considered a reportable pest in Queensland, additional funding is probably unlikely, unless national parks or world heritage areas come under threat.