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Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

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Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:02 pm

My updates tend to disappear into chat so I thought I'd make a dedicated thread.

We're back in the news again today:

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/pest-agency-wants-more-funding-to-combat-growing-threat-of-yellow-crazy-ants/story-fnjpusyw-1227307021676

and as much as I dislike John Mackenzie for most of his crap, he gives us a lot of support on the radio:

http://www.4ca.com.au/mornings/47664-macca-how-much-more-to-get-rid-of-the-yellow-crazy-ants-17-april-2015

We have to keep the noise up. Eventually we'll get heard.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:07 pm

https://youtu.be/1wA37Sukqmw

Not Crazy ants, Electric ants.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Fri May 01, 2015 2:43 am

They look nasty too.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Fri May 01, 2015 8:24 am

They're really painful. The sting gives an itchy, burning sensation lasts for around 40 minutes. Some people come up in very painful blistered pimples, and occasionally a sting can trigger anaphylaxis. I've only ever copped a few at a time. 50 or so would be really nasty. I have a paper floating around somewhere that implicates Wasmannia in sending elephants blind!

The worst thing is that they're so small and are not aggressive so people don't notice them and we all know how gardeners love to swap plants. The humble pot plant can carry a lot more than most people seem to realise.

Ants are so pernicious. It's difficult to convince people just how bad they can be :(
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Fri May 01, 2015 9:21 am

Teleost wrote:They're really painful. The sting gives an itchy, burning sensation lasts for around 40 minutes. Some people come up in very painful blistered pimples, and occasionally a sting can trigger anaphylaxis. I've only ever copped a few at a time. 50 or so would be really nasty. I have a paper floating around somewhere that implicates Wasmannia in sending elephants blind!

The worst thing is that they're so small and are not aggressive so people don't notice them and we all know how gardeners love to swap plants. The humble pot plant can carry a lot more than most people seem to realise.

Ants are so pernicious. It's difficult to convince people just how bad they can be :(

The blindness thing is something I haven't noticed with other ants, That is, most ants never get near eyes on most living beings.

All pot plants have ants in them if the pot drains properly. I tend to share plants by washing them and wrapping them in plastic shopping bags.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Helix » Fri May 01, 2015 10:33 am

Teleost wrote:The worst thing is that they're so small and are not aggressive so people don't notice them and we all know how gardeners love to swap plants. The humble pot plant can carry a lot more than most people seem to realise.


So many introduced snail, slug and earthworm species get spread that way. :(

Esp. earthworms.

'But earthworms are good!'

Yeah, no.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed May 06, 2015 8:38 pm

As much as I dislike John Mackenzie, he's taken up the banner of the good fight. He's one of our staunchest media supporters.

Today's interview with Andrew Cox of the Invasive Species council http://www.4ca.com.au/mornings/47827-macca-crazy-ants-still-a-threat

That was off the back of an article in the Cairns fishwrapper, http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/call-for-senate-to-hold-biosecurity-bill-until-yellow-crazy-ants-dealt-with/story-fnjpusyw-1227337838958

We're going to be like a dog with a bone on this. We're going to keep making noise and shaking trees until some money falls out.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Mon May 11, 2015 12:14 pm

In the news again today.

I'm supposed to be on leave, but it's not something you ever truly get a break from.

After all ants work 24/7/365.

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/tourism-industry-asleep-to-crazy-ant-danger/story-fnjpusyw-1227349497297
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed May 20, 2015 10:48 am

Somedays I feel like I my project just exists to provide content for the Cairns Post. The noise is getting louder though. I don't know that it's possible to achieve full eradication, but I'm beginning to hope that we'll be funded to at least get it under some level of control.

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/opinion/crazy-ants-pose-much-bigger-threat-than-johnny-depps-dogs/story-fnjpuwl3-1227356841869
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby flying spaghetti monster » Wed May 20, 2015 9:33 pm

Nice article from the Cairns Post. I hope a copy has been sent to all politicians.

Keep on fighting the good fight, Teleost.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Thu May 21, 2015 7:10 am

flying spaghetti monster wrote:Nice article from the Cairns Post. I hope a copy has been sent to all politicians.

Keep on fighting the good fight, Teleost.

hear hear.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Mon May 25, 2015 9:57 pm

We got the news tonight.

and on the radio today.

Sorry for non facebook folks. I'm working on getting vids onto youtube.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby justjj » Wed May 27, 2015 7:57 am

Teleost wrote:We got the news tonight.

and on the radio today.

Sorry for non facebook folks. I'm working on getting vids onto youtube.


That is grim news Teleost.
I popped in to check on an internet item I read that said importing some wasp predators of the ants is looking likely.
does that ring a bell with you, or was it some journalist speculating?
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed May 27, 2015 5:57 pm

The biocontrol is for Christmas island. They're looking at using wasps to control scale insects. CI has had YCA since the 1930s. While there's nothing on paper, the word is that the ants didn't go crazy until the scale insects arrived in the 1990s.

I think it's a good idea. There's some serious science backing it up. It can hardly make things worse and it's not likely to get away from a tiny isolated island in the middle of nowhere if there are unforeseen problems.

Helicopter treatment is carried out every few years when the ants begin to get out of control again. Using biocontols will never eradicate, but it may help to keep the population from reaching supercolony status and save an absolute squillion.


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/26/australia-to-import-micro-wasp-to-wage-war-against-crazy-ants-plague

http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/898583db-b929-491a-8448-73fb652bca66/files/3-factsheet-biocontrol-crazy-ants-christmas-island-january-2015.pdf
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Wed May 27, 2015 6:07 pm

At least biocontrol can bring it all into a situation that is more easily dealt with, as long as the control doesent get out of control.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed May 27, 2015 6:12 pm

I'm not sure if I've put this up before. My apologies if I have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWOAR7-ORRQ

It's a 2:20 minute video Roughy, and it's worth the bandwidth.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Wed May 27, 2015 8:29 pm

I've seen similar footage either David Attenborough or deadly 60 or summat like that.

Hopefully the smaller island of CI will help us get the answers quickly enough.

Me, I'd be dropping penny bungers amongst them to break them up.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby justjj » Thu May 28, 2015 9:21 pm

Teleost wrote:I'm not sure if I've put this up before. My apologies if I have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWOAR7-ORRQ

It's a 2:20 minute video Roughy, and it's worth the bandwidth.

That video was a shock to me, Teleost.
I thought I understood, but had no idea.

Can only wish the program and workers well
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Thu May 28, 2015 10:29 pm

It's definitely scary JJ, but I'm feeling very positive at the moment.

Our green army team have proven to be an excellent group of young men who are becoming very committed and great ambassadors. Considering some of the horrible areas they have to work, they’re retaining their sense of humour and have become a very tight team. We've lost one to a full time job in pest control which is a fantastic outcome.

We have a very small but committed work for the dole team. These guys get my total respect. They're flogging their guts out for an extra $20 in their dole payment. It doesn't even cover the costs of their lunch. I'm about to start profiling them on our Facebook pages to try and get them into decent jobs. It'd be sad to lose any of them as they're such good workers, but they've earned a bit of help to find work.

We get a huge amount of support through Conservation Volunteers Australia who administer the green army and work for the dole projects but they also put some of their international volunteers onto tasks such as annual surveys of all the creeks running out of the infestations to detect any wash down.

We're also breaking some new ground. The residents at Kuranda are being very proactive in developing a community program. We've got 55+ people who are volunteering their time to help with the program. That means we have sufficient numbers to bait the area at a very high standard. As far as I'm aware, it's the first time an approach like this has been used to attempt eradication of tramp ants anywhere in the world.

One of the local NGOs has taken up the cause and is providing the necessary umbrella of liability and WH&S insurance which was a major hurdle in allowing the public to help out with eradication tasks. It also means that if we're unable to secure further funding, that they'll be in a position to apply for a whole raft of grants that we have no access to as a government department to keep the ball rolling.

If it takes off, I want to look at using it as a model for other areas. That's got a few issues though. Kuranda has a very strong community of environmentally aware people. As do the agricultural areas of infestation. Unfortunately the residential areas in Cairns don't have anywhere near the same strength of community.

All the politicians we talk to are astounded at just how far we're pushing the money we have got and there is growing support for the program. We're a very long way from saying the program will be funded properly but we're on the road. I believe that we've got enough community support that it will not be allowed to simply die out when we come to the end of the current funding.

It's not all doom and gloom. It's one of the most exciting and dynamic conservation projects I know of. It has completely taken over my life and while my family and friends are sick to death of it, I'm pretty sure most people working on these sort of projects are the same.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Fri May 29, 2015 5:37 am

Yoour friends and family need your time tooand they are also there to hel you take a break. Hope ypou manage this finely balanced tightrope well.

By the way the word dole went out of vogue in the 1970's It is called new start these days. ;)
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Fri May 29, 2015 7:54 am

Yes, but I still call morning tea 'smoko' and call people 'mate' or 'cobber'. "Work for new start" doesn't roll of the tongue nicely

I see no shame in the word 'dole' especially when you're working for it.

The real shame here is dedicated guys working hard for less than minimum wage. It goes against the grain for me in a big way. These blokes have proven that they’re not bludgers in any way, shape or form.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:51 pm

I may have to tone down my opinions and bite my tongue for a bit.

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/pm-promises-biosecurity-plan-for-northern-queensland/story-fnjpvlcp-1227408588239

We are finally beginning to get some traction with this. I think the real challenge now is to ensure that this isn't going to be used as a vote gathering exercise and is treated as the environmental emergency that it actually is. YCA have always been a political football. We need bipartisan support from local, state and federal governments to get rid of these things.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:01 am

Teleost wrote:I may have to tone down my opinions and bite my tongue for a bit.

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/pm-promises-biosecurity-plan-for-northern-queensland/story-fnjpvlcp-1227408588239

We are finally beginning to get some traction with this. I think the real challenge now is to ensure that this isn't going to be used as a vote gathering exercise and is treated as the environmental emergency that it actually is. YCA have always been a political football. We need bipartisan support from local, state and federal governments to get rid of these things.



Good government should always face facts squarely.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby nut » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:23 pm

Teleost wrote:I may have to tone down my opinions and bite my tongue for a bit.

...


No. I don't believe that should be the case.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:35 pm

The code of conduct for public servants is pretty explicit nut.

I sail pretty close to the wind a lot of the time. Especially on social media. The last thing I want to do is irritate someone who might possibly have the power to give me some funding.

Even if that person is a complete idiot.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:47 pm

Teleost wrote:The code of conduct for public servants is pretty explicit nut.

I sail pretty close to the wind a lot of the time. Especially on social media. The last thing I want to do is irritate someone who might possibly have the power to give me some funding.

Even if that person is a complete idiot.


The trick is to allow them to think it is their brilliant idea. They'll never do it otherwise.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:42 am

The water seems to have stopped falling from the sky for a change!

We're sending the helicopter up to rain ant bait today.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:07 pm

*Sigh*

If it doesn't rain, it pours.

We had things running smoothly. Got 100 Hectares treated and a red light came on on the dashboard of the helicopter. The pilot wouldn't accept my suggestion that he just turn the radio up a bit louder and decided to call Brisvegas to send up a new part.

So hopefully the new part came in this afternoon and we can get it changed over early tomorrow and be back in the air by mid morning.

Loading up.
[img]
https://scontent-nrt1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hp ... 3697_n.jpg[/img]

I've been wondering about just how much bait penetrates the forest canopy. I've got some of these in sugar can, rainforest and vine forest. The one in the open got blown away by the helicopter.
[img]
https://scontent-nrt1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hp ... 0524_n.jpg[/img]

My truck is usually a bit of overkill for the sort of places I go. When we do this work, it's fantastic. 625Kg of bait and it doesn't even notice it. We'll put out around 3.5 tons by Monday.
[img]https://scontent-nrt1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/11541939_1441411386166655_6278642204472461621_n.jpg
[/img]
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby moonmaid » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:32 pm

Evening Teleost,

What was the red light about on the helicopter dashboard?

You missed the most interesting part of the story :)
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:33 pm

It was the generator. I don't care about the bit that doesn't work. I have three days off booked for next week and will be quite grumpy if I have to work on Monday.

Even though I'm very passionate about what I'm doing, there comes a time when you need to take time off before you begin to burn out. :(
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby moonmaid » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:54 am

Watch out ants!
If Teleost is there on Monday you're gunna get it good and proper.

As long as the generator wasn't for turning the blades :O

Bummer if you don't get your break.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby *jj* » Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:43 am

https://cns.utexas.edu/news/chink-found ... -crazy-ant

Chink Found in Armor of Invasive Crazy Ant
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby nut » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:34 pm

Hi jj,

...naturally occurring fungus that can infect and kill large numbers of ants...


Of course the ant is naturally occuring too and look at the damage it is doing. Not taking away from the article though; the hope.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby *jj* » Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:33 pm

You are so right, nut.
It's hard to feel too hopeful about much these days, without a long list of qualifiers, isn't it.

It's cold here ... clear sunny skies and just on 100mls of rain in last two weeks.
Now that's the sort of thing that gives me hope
:)
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby nut » Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:50 pm

It is just the pessimist in me is in constant conflict with my optimistic side.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:10 am

nut wrote:It is just the pessimist in me is in constant conflict with my optimistic side.

It is the same for all of us but the best part is that optimum speaks for itself.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:45 pm

Well everyone, hold your breath and cross everything.

We currently have three people on a plane heading to Canberra to present a proposal for a properly funded 10 year eradication program. They have meetings lined up with everyone and anyone who'll listen to the pitch. We've drummed up a lot of political support from the local pollies who all see this as vitally important. They'll be talking to all flavours of pollie: blue, red and green.

Watch this space.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby *jj* » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:56 am

ahhh, what a task!

I do hope it comes off, Teleost.

I am hearing that redundancies pushed on AQIS people have been made available/ transferred to Border Farce. Have you heard anything of that?
It hardly seems possible, then I rethink the position and decide it DOES seem likely.
:(
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:10 pm

*jj* wrote:ahhh, what a task!

I do hope it comes off, Teleost.

I am hearing that redundancies pushed on AQIS people have been made available/ transferred to Border Farce. Have you heard anything of that?
It hardly seems possible, then I rethink the position and decide it DOES seem likely.
:(



Yes. Best of luck Teleost.

As for the transfer to border force. The libs have a long record of destroying things that Labor had set up and shifting the money to projects of their choice.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:48 pm

Well, the team had a good trip down to Canberra. Most people they spoke to were genuinely interested. They obviously had an impact as we had a visit from Minister Hunt yesterday. While he was primarily up here to re-announce funding for the reef, he stopped and talked ants for a lot longer than his allotted time.

He's not committing any funding yet, but we're on the way. I'm hoping that he can put some pressure on the state and local governments to chip in.

I even got to be a poster boy in the Cairns fishwrapper. PDF link should download for anyone even if you're not on stalkbook. https://www.facebook.com/download/875579652497008/Cairns_Post_20150923.pdf
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:03 am

Great beard. :) Sad that you have to deal with Greg Hunt. Hope Malcom notices your efforts.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:28 am

I feel permanently conflicted Roughy. Nearly all of the pollies I have to deal with are on the other side of the fence to my personal views. I will talk to whoever listens though.

We gain more community support every day and the local rag is 100% behind us. They're not going to let it die.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:53 am

Teleost wrote:I feel permanently conflicted Roughy. Nearly all of the pollies I have to deal with are on the other side of the fence to my personal views. I will talk to whoever listens though.

We gain more community support every day and the local rag is 100% behind us. They're not going to let it die.


It is a serious issue that anyone with grey matter couldn't possibly deny. Keep at it.
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:52 am

This is our latest monitoring results. Most of these sites are in rainforest so it doesn't give the whole picture. but what a spectacular result.

I think we had a number of things in our favour. In June/July, there's a clear preference for protein (our bait is fish meal). We had almost constant rain for all of June so the ants had their foraging restricted. Subsequently, when we baited, there was a huge bait pickup. We're still finding bait stockpiled under logs and in old nests from that round. We also used a different spreader on the helicopter so that may have helped as well.

Image
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby roughbarked » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:36 am

Me likes those words, "old nests".
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby Teleost » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:34 pm

Live nest.
Image

Dead nest.
Image
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Re: Yellow Cazy Ant Thread

Postby *jj* » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:01 pm

I'm pleased, just reading it!
:)
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