Exotic invasive ants

Exotic invasive ants are a group of species from around the globe that have arrived in Australia as hitchhikers on machinery, equipment or other goods.

They often rely on people for their transport and spread.

Species characteristics

The world's most invasive ant species have a number of characteristics in common. They are:

  • omnivorous - will eat both plant and animal food sources
  • opportunistic nesters and may have a large number of reproductive queens, extending over large areas
  • found living in human environments but may move into natural environments
  • aggressive towards other ant species
  • responsible for disrupting native species and potentially ecosystems.

Grouping of exotic invasive ants in Australia

High priority invasive ants that are not present:

Under national eradication (present in parts of Australia):

Established (either in discrete locations or widespread):

There are other exotic ants established in Australia that are not known to be invasive or causing problems.

Importing goods into South Australia

If you import the following goods into South Australia, you could be bringing in unwanted exotic ants:

  • containerised plants
  • potting media, soil
  • organic mulch, turf, hay, straw
  • agriculture machinery or used containers.

See the Plant Quarantine Standard (PQS) to find out if any conditions of entry apply to your imports.

Growers and home gardeners

Moving items such as pot plants out of your backyard, is an easy way for invasive ants to move to new locations. Always check these items if you are in an area that has exotic invasive ant populations.

More information

National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018-2028


Contact Biosecurity SA or the Exotic Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Page Last Reviewed: 03 Jul 2020
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