Award for man who saved Lismore from crazy ant invasion
MILO Yeigh has been recognised in this year’s national Froggatt Awards for staving off an invasion of yellow crazy ants from Lismore.
Invasive species have become one of the biggest threats facing Australia’s natural environment, but their continued arrival and spread is all too often neglected as a conservation issue.
The Froggatt Awards are named in honour of the man who warned Australia of the dangers of releasing the cane toad into the country.
As well as Mr Yeigh, a Queensland council that enlisted local land owners in its fight against weeds and feral animals, and former federal agricultural minister David Littleproud for creating the country’s first ever Office of Environmental Biosecurity have been recognised.
The Froggatt Awards are given out by the Invasive Species Council every year and are named in honour of Australian entomologist Walter Froggatt.
Yellow crazy ants are listed among the world’s worst invasive species.
Mr Yeigh’s keen interest in ants led to his discovery of yellow crazy ants in Lismore’s central district in May 2018.
“I was just watching all the ants and I hadn’t seen them in Lismore before,” Mr Yeigh previously told The Northern Star after being applauded in 2018 for his keen eye.
Being an avid insect and ant enthusiast from a young age, Mr Yeigh took it upon himself to identify what species the ants were and contacted Biosecurity.
“I was a lot when I was younger but then I took about a four-year break from it because it felt childish in way, but in the last year and a half I’ve got more interested in it again on a more deeper level,” he said.
“I thought they could possibly be agent weaver ants but they didn’t have any green that I could see, they had more of a yellowy orange.”
Once identified, Mr Yeigh said he became nervous and immediately notified Biosecurity.
“They contacted me back to send through some samples and that’s how they were identified,” he said.
“I looked it up and once I felt I had identified them positively enough, I took a lot of pictures and sent them to Biosecurity.”
He reported his find to the NSW Biosecurity Hotline and immediate surveillance and eradication of the infestation was carried out.
“Milo showed the importance of everyday people being part of Australia’s efforts to stop new pest animals, weeds and insects getting new footholds in Australia,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
“We all have a role to play in protecting Australia from dangerous new pest animals, insects, weeds and diseases, and fast and immediate action can be as simple as reporting a suspicious plant, animal or insect to the authorities,” Mr Cox said.