Once again, a misunderstanding spurred me to do some research. There is such a thing as electric ants, and here’s why spreading them is against the law in Queensland.
Adult ants are about 0.06 of an inch long. They live in soil and under stones or wood. They can also live in houses, infesting furniture, beds, and food. Electric ants can displace 95 percent of native ants, causing local plants, crops, and trees to suffer. The ants can further affect the horticulture industry by stinging employees and damaging animals and plants.
Electric ants were first found in North Queensland in 2006. By 2007, an eradication program was underway. The sign I saw on the highway denotes a biosecurity zone and directs inhabitants and visitors alike not to move any materials, such as soil or any materials that touch soil, that can harbor electric ants. The spread of the ants depends largely on humans moving or sharing potted plants, as well as dumping household waste illegally.