Armies of African big-headed ants no longer plague the shores of Lord Howe Island, with the World Heritage-listed site finally declared free of the pest.
Listed among the 100 worst species in the world, the ant was first officially detected on the island in 2003 and has wreaked havoc on its natural ecosystem.
CSIRO researcher Dr Ben Hoffmann suspects the ant has been there much longer though, having been transported across the sea in various materials exported from mainland Australia.
"Essentially it has every major impact you can imagine," he told AAP.
"They are notorious for killing all other invertebrates in an area."
Exotic ant specialist Dr Hoffmann was brought to Lord Howe in 2011 to lead a team dedicated to exterminating the ant.
After initially mapping the colonies of African big-headed ants on the island, they successfully baited them into extinction.
To make sure they were all gone Dr Hoffmann and his team used one of the ant's favourite treats - cat food - to lure any remaining pests out of their nests so they could also be killed.
Dr Hoffmann says it's the world's third-largest ant eradication on an island.
Part of the ant's devastation is caused by their symbiotic relationship with a type of sap-sucking bug.
"This ant farms bugs like we farm cows," Dr Hoffmann said.
The ants protect the bugs from predators, and in return the bugs feed the ants honeydew secretion from the sap - each fuelling population growth in both species exponentially.
The bugs essentially suck the life out of plants, wreaking havoc on agricultural areas by decreasing crop activity and forcing farmers to increase the use of pesticides.
But while the ants have been eradicated from Lord Howe, they remain prevalent across most of Australia and most other countries around the world.
Documented cases show the bugs on remote islands, ferociously drawing the sap out of entire tree systems and causing their collapse.
Dr Hoffmann said tighter biosecurity checks on Lord Howe have been set up to prevent the ant's return.
"We know species are being spread more and more as the increase of goods is being shipped around the world which is why we need to stay vigilant on these islands," he said.