By Ranger Rakrakpuy Marika
This week we have been helping Meghan Cooling from Wellington University with her Yellow Crazy Ant research for her PhD.
Yellow Crazy Ants are called crazy, because they are crazy. They run around so much and in very big groups.
Scientists have been working on controlling Yellow Crazy Ants around here for years, especially in our recreation areas.
They are really annoying; they are always active, laying eggs, all day and all night.
If you pitched your tent on a Yellow Crazy Ants nest you would wake up screaming in the middle of the night because they would be everywhere. They also wipe out all the other ants, so they are bad news.
Meghan is here because the numbers started reducing on their own, so she is here to research if a disease might have affected the Queen ants and stopped them laying so many eggs. So this week, we had to go looking for crazy queen ants.
We looked for holes in the ground and that’s where we dug for the nest. When we started digging they all came out and starting climbing everywhere. They ran up my arms, into my uniform.
They were even in my hair.
They don’t really bite but they do spray acid everywhere; it smells strange, a bit like honey.
We had to wait like this with them running all over us until the Queen ant finally came out. Then we took the Queen ant with our fingers, and put her in a little container for Meghan to research. You have to be pretty quick because they move so fast, and be careful not to squash them.
It was hard work; it was so hot, I was glad I had lots of gapu (water). We had to bend down the whole time so I had cramps in my back and arms from all the digging. I was also a bit scared that a snake was going to come out from the hole.
But it was nice out bush; it was quiet, I could hear the birds. And it was good to help Meghan, she was so calm. But it was tough work.
Be careful if you think you see a Yellow Crazy Ant nest in one of the Recreation Areas. Try to leave it alone and tell Dhimurru, so we can track it.
Also the acid they spray can hurt the eyes of pets, and even make them blind. And they will definitely ruin your picnic.