From the Echo.

Caution advised in treatment of yellow crazy ants

Yellow Crazy Ants,(noplolepis gracilipes).
The National Toxics Network has advised caution regarding the use of the chemical pesticide Fipronil for the treatment of a yellow crazy ant in Lismore but stopped short of opposing its use.
The group’s reaction comes amid news of a spread of the feral species in areas around Lismore and community concerns that other creatures including bees and frogs could potentially be affected.
NSW DPI has announced two new infestations of the ants in the region, one at Goonellabah and the other at Terania Creek, including approximately 100 square metres of rugged, steep bush bordering Nightcap National Park.
DPI’s invasive species programs manager, Scott Charlton, confirmed the new infestations late last week.
‘Unfortunately, we can confirm a yellow crazy ant infestation at Terania Creek. We are working with local property owners to investigate where the ants came from while we take immediate steps to control them,’ he said.
‘We have also had a single ant found at Goonellabah and this is being treated as an infested area as no other ants have been found at the property,’ he said.
Bees ‘not affected
Another DPI spokesperson said the insecticide uses a fish-meal based attractant which does not attract bees.
‘The treatment is applied on the ground and bees don’t forage on the ground,’ the spokesperson said.
‘The operation will follow strict APVMA guidelines and as part of the permit conditions insecticide will not be placed near waterways or stormwater drains to protect waterways and the aquatic environment, including fish and aquatic invertebrates,’ he added.
Toxicity warning
National Toxics Network Jo Imming said the chosen treatment, Fiproonil, was one of three the DPI could have chosen from, the others being methoprene and hydramethylnon.
She told Echonetdaily it was not clear why Fipronil had been chosen but added, ‘it’s good to know they have other options, however, as sensitive locations may require something else’.
‘It does seem possible there could be off-target impacts to frogs and I would add, potentially other creatures such as birds that might eat frogs,’ she said.
‘Clearly the use conditions are designed to minimise those risks, however it would be prudent for the DPI to establish a monitoring process to ensure the application isn’t having those broader impacts.
‘All pesticide use carries risks to workers, communities and the environment. However, in emergency situations their use may be necessary.
‘In order to minimise risks it is vital that those applying pesticides are fully trained and follow all use conditions. It is important these products aren’t applied when rain is expected,’ Ms Imming said.

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A working weekend.

Cooler mornings make physical work a pleasure. Lantana flowers amass with brown butterflies feasting on the nectar.

Progressing up the valley as we walk over previously mulched lantana. Counted 6 varieties of rain forest seedlings emerging through the dried lantana. Exciting as the regeneration is so quick, 4 months after the slash.

Following a 2 hour lantana slash, a besan flour base pizza.

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Silvereye’s in great numbers.

Extraordinary week for smaller birds around the gardens. So difficult to photograph as the silver eye fly so fast and are small, into the canopies of macadamia trees where they find something delicious. Fantails, yellow breasted robins, black cockatoos and the ever present wompoo dove.


Working in the garden is extremely pleasant with the cool days. Lantana slash too, the body likes

Tamarillos abundant so once again time to make the chutney.

Tree tomato chutney.


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Off Track.

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Mist, light rain and a couple of minutes of sun.

Mist rolling through the valley………………..rain soon followed.

Walked out yesterday at 5 am. Light rain at the beginning of my 5 k walk. Umbrella, torch, driza bone rain coat. Rained all the way, my slouch bag got wet as did my socks and trousers. But enjoyed every minute. Only the sound of rain drops on my umbrella as a dodged pot holes full of water, streams of water across the road as blocked drains built up. My walking boots, so comfortable, need to be retired for dry walking only.

Hearyt breakfast at Lulu’s in town soon warmed me up.

Its common sense. We need manual work crews to unblock the drains, remove the silt from under road pipes and sensibly plant lomandra at strategic spots. The pot holes got even worse when I reached the sealed patched road. No drainage at all and the road must have sprung 20 large potholes over a couple of wet weeks.

No wonder everyone is complaining. Vehicles require many services using our roads. Tyre alignment essential often, especially for posties.

Jayne, the valley postal contractor has to zig zag many stretches of pot holes. To avoid is often impossible.

Also she has to endure occasional herbicide  liberally sprayed around letter boxes, I could smell it at one stop. Same time to spray they could whipper snip or better still, hand weed. 2 severe examples yesterday of intensive road side private spraying.

The creeks were flowing after the night of rain. King fishers on a tree over the water, watching.

Overall a good day.



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Geared up with camera in the knapsack, gloves and brush hook, I watched 5 wompoo doves feasting on the white cedar seeds. By the time I unravelled the camera, de gloved got this one photo.

Good week progressing. Lantana slash and mulched creeping up the valley.

Numerous bangalow palms have sprouted beneath the lantana so careful work.

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To Council.

I purchased 72 hectares at Huonbrook in 1977. Back then it was severely eroded steep land which emaciated cattle were trying to survive off.

My approach then was to learn from the land and what native fauna and flora survived on what remained of the rain forest…………..many human predators of our flora had removed stag horns, bangalow palms, tree ferns and what ever was viable to sell in the City Plant markets.

Lantana growth followed the removal of the cattle and when I returned in 1994. my hard physical labor began and which I am still continuing, the slash, pull and mulch of this introduced plant. The soil beneath is teeming with micro life and within weeks of the lantana being mulched the sight of emerging rain forest seedlings is very visible. I am now seeing many hectares of indigenous trees sprouting. It is extremely satisfying as I see and hear the increasing bird life as we work.

I have never been persuaded that the illusion of the quick easy fix in using any herbicide is safe. And as more and more independent evidence is emerging from around the world on the creeping evidence that glyphosate is now in human blood via food contamination, it doesn’t take a leap of faith to realize that any herbicide, pesticide, fungicide, insecticide will have a wider impact on our whole ecology. Witness the local drains still being sprayed within our Shire, run-off to where?

I was really inspired years ago when the Byron Shire Council had messages coming out to us rate payers that their direction was to be herbicide free. Our Shire’s branding could have been Organic and an example of the way into our changing future as climate change progresses.

Some European Councils are actively involved with their rate payers in educating on the use of herbicide free approaches in their gardens.

It is good to see steam weeding in Mullumbimby instead of the knapsack sprayer.

As awareness and evidence of contamination is exposed the future could be herbicide free which could see increased employment for the many young people I worked alongside in the Green Army. Most were knowledgeable but saw no prospects of paid employment as a herbicide free worker. To work close to nature and the soil is a privilege and satisfying.

I would like our Council to lead the way by showing by example and via educating our many new residents, care followed by pride in our environment is achievable.

Thank you

Donald Drinkwater


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