Ant season

Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion.
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Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Thu 02 Dec, 2021 6:20 pm

I have vivid memories of zillions of bitey little black ants on a couple of trips. On my first visit to the Labyrinth, one January long ago, I waded out to a rock in a lake to escape them.

On a more recent trip late one December, we were overrun by them on the ridge line between Pelion West and Achilles. They were so bad we couldn't stop for a dip and a break in the lovely pools, in spite of the heat. We would have been covered in ants if we'd stopped for more than a couple of seconds. They weren't an issue on Perrins, Achilles or at Leonards Tarn.

I hear Cuvier can also be an issue.

Several walks high on my list are in the Labyrinth area, so I'm interested in people's experiences in mid-December/Jan of ants being majorly unpleasant or otherwise, for the following:

Massif/Falling Mtn
Walled/Macs/Nereus
Rocky Hill/Camp Hill/Pyramid Mtn
Cuvier/Manfred/Goulds Sugarloaf

Thanks in advance for any of your experiences, with or without the ants.
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Re: Ant season

Postby north-north-west » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 6:00 am

Ants weren't an issue on Walled/Macs/Nereus the summer we did it. Didn't have any issue with them on Falling and Massif either. Never had a problem with them in the Rocky Hill area either, but I've not been in there at the height of summer. Minor nuisance on Cuvier Shelf but not too bad if you keep to the rock slabs; not a problem on Goulds or Manfred, but I didn't camp near either of those two.
They were nightmarish at Elysia the first time I visited Walls and Macs. Hell on six tiny legs.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 7:16 am

Thanks, nnw. Much appreciated!
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Re: Ant season

Postby Lostsoul » Sun 05 Dec, 2021 11:45 am

I’ve had trouble with them in summer at Elysia and also Cuvier Shelf a few other places as well.
I’ve got a tent footprint made from sisilation which I give a spray around with Bushman.I also usually leave cooking etc until about 8 pm in Summer,they seem to be less active then.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Sun 05 Dec, 2021 1:09 pm

Thanks for your input, Lostsoul. :)
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Re: Ant season

Postby Orion » Mon 06 Dec, 2021 6:59 am

The ants were overwhelming on one day trip to the Labyrinth that I did in early January 2018. We couldn't stop anywhere as the ants would sense our presence and begin assembling almost immediately. There were people in the lake just as a way to escape. It was very unpleasant and I wondered what it would have been like to camp there as I had once before. That one previous visit was ant-free but it had just snowed and so the area was pretty swampy. On the ant trip it was quite dry. I wondered at the time how common that ant experience was.
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Re: Ant season

Postby dee_legg » Mon 06 Dec, 2021 7:30 am

I too have enjoyed the company of the Lake Elysia ants. In my experience, they are rampant earlier in summer but not so much towards Autumn.
A recent trip to the Labyrinth and beyond in March was ant free.

Gould Plateau was rife with ants last weekend.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Son of a Beach » Mon 06 Dec, 2021 9:04 am

Are these the ants that make their nests in grass tussocks and small dense shrubs, at or just above ground level? Nasty little blighters! (Not venemous, but very irritating.) I've learned to look carefully for their nests before putting my pack down, or setting up a tent. But I still hit a nest I didn't see too often.

Trying to make sure they're all off the pack before putting it on again, is a challenge.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Mon 06 Dec, 2021 5:34 pm

Son of a Beach wrote:Are these the ants that make their nests in grass tussocks and small dense shrubs, at or just above ground level? Nasty little blighters!

Not sure, SoB. I was so busy trying to brush them off faster than they were climbing up my legs, I didn't check out their nests.
The pack-check is trickier than for leeches, because they move so fast. :shock:

Thanks Orion & d_l too. it's a shame ant season matches the long daylight hours!
Last edited by Tortoise on Fri 10 Dec, 2021 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Osik » Fri 10 Dec, 2021 5:08 am

Some nice trips planned there tortoise! I had no troubles with them over a couple of nights on the curvier shelf between Christmas and New Years though I camped at the cliffs not far from where you pop onto the shelf looking towards Manfred rather than at the small waterfall further away (views >water).

Elysia on the other hand
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Fri 10 Dec, 2021 9:26 am

Osik wrote:Some nice trips planned there tortoise!
:D
Thanks for the great intel.
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Re: Ant season

Postby biggbird » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 9:03 am

Pyramid had the most ants I have ever seen, all happily camped right on the summit.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 9:49 am

biggbird wrote:Pyramid had the most ants I have ever seen, all happily camped right on the summit.

:lol: We'll be prepared to hit that summit and run!
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Re: Ant season

Postby north-north-west » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 12:17 pm

Not when I did it, although it wasn't summer so, yeah, maybe. It is the sort of ground where you'd expect them.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 12:22 pm

north-north-west wrote:Not when I did it, although it wasn't summer so, yeah, maybe. It is the sort of ground where you'd expect them.

I've only ever had a problem with them in summer. But I love these long daylight hours...
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Re: Ant season

Postby JnT » Tue 18 Jan, 2022 8:41 am

Just came back from a trip up to Cuvier Shelf last week, can confirm they are active and annoying no matter where I tried to camp. Basically no places to sit and chill without getting smashed until after 7:30-8pm :D
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Re: Ant season

Postby Tortoise » Tue 18 Jan, 2022 8:48 am

Thanks for the update, JnT. As tempting as it is to use the long days in good weather, I know I'll enjoy it more if I can hold off till autumn. An ant-infested lunch the other day was a good reminder of how much I don't enjoy swatting bitey ants!
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Re: Ant season

Postby Son of a Beach » Sun 27 Feb, 2022 10:32 am

Son of a Beach wrote:Are these the ants that make their nests in grass tussocks and small dense shrubs, at or just above ground level? Nasty little blighters! (Not venemous, but very irritating.) I've learned to look carefully for their nests before putting my pack down, or setting up a tent. But I still hit a nest I didn't see too often.

Trying to make sure they're all off the pack before putting it on again, is a challenge.


I took a couple of photos of their nests near one of my campsites last week. Unfortunately, I only have a phone camera, and they didn't turn out too well... but here's what the nests look like...

ants1.jpeg
ants2.jpeg


At two camp sites last week I had to look very carefully for these nests before choosing where to erect the tent, or in fact where to put my pack on the ground, or stand or walk or do anything at all. No mater where I was I still got a few ants on me, but as long as I wasn't too close to a nest, I didn't get completely swarmed (my pack did once... grrr!).

At one of the camp sites, the only relief I could get from the ants was to either lie in my tent (with sleeping bag and pack liner draped over it to reduce the heat), or to stand on a rock in the nearby lake that was completely surrounded by water. So I alternated between these two positions for the rest of the day, after arriving at the camp site quite early.
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Re: Ant season

Postby doogs » Mon 28 Feb, 2022 9:02 am

are the annoying little ants confined to the Du Cane-Cuvier areas or are the further afield? I haven't encountered them elsewhere but they only seem to like the warmer days. Last summer I had a trip in great weather made miserable by the little buggers at my campsites in those areas. In particular I'm looking at the Central Plateau/Travellers/WOJ areas.
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Re: Ant season

Postby north-north-west » Mon 28 Feb, 2022 5:06 pm

This year they seem particularly bad, including the SW - Shining was a bit iffy in places, ditto Wugata and Battlement. Never had major problems with them on the CP or in the WoJ, but I'd still look around carefully before sitting/dropping pack/pitching.
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Re: Ant season

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 01 Mar, 2022 7:09 am

doogs wrote:are the annoying little ants confined to the Du Cane-Cuvier areas or are the further afield? I haven't encountered them elsewhere but they only seem to like the warmer days. Last summer I had a trip in great weather made miserable by the little buggers at my campsites in those areas. In particular I'm looking at the Central Plateau/Travellers/WOJ areas.


I've encountered them in many places, including (off the top of my head): Western lakes & Chudleigh lakes (CP), Oenone, Raglan Range

I agree with others that this season they seem to be particularly bad.
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