Maui News

VIDEO: No Little Fire Ants Found in Oʻahu Post-Infestation Surveys

August 28, 2015, 4:49 PM HST
* Updated August 28, 4:55 PM
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[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY1jOdksDNs /] By Maui Now Staff

The Hawaiʻi Departments of Agriculture and Land and Natural Resources report today that the first round of post-infestation surveys in Waimanalo and Mililani Mauka on the island of Oʻahu, did not turn up any evidence of Little Fire Ants. Surveys will continue for the next three years.

The little fire ant is a highly invasive ant from South America that was first detected on Hawaiʻi Island in 1999. It has since been found on Kauaʻi (1999), Maui (2009), and Oʻahu (2013).  Officials say the stinging ant threatens agriculture, tourism, human health, and the environmental health of communities across the state.

Treatments, developed by the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab, were applied in both locations once evidence of LFA was discovered. The Waimanalo surveys were conducted by an inter-agency team on Thursday and the Mililani Mauka surveys were conducted today.

Coincidentally, Governor David Ige today proclaimed September as “Stop the Ant” month and encourages all homeowners and landowners to conduct simple, annual surveys on their properties to help ensure protection from further spread of this invasive pest.

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The Nāhiku little fire ant infestation in East Maui was discovered on Sept. 18 2014 by a crew from the Maui Invasive Species Committee. At over 20 acres, the Maui Invasive Species Committee notes that it is the largest infestation of little fire ants detected outside of Hawaiʻi Island. Control efforts began in January 2015.

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Authorities say the Huelo little fire ant infestation, also in East Maui was confirmed in January of 2015 after a resident reported being stung while picking fruit. That infestation is approximately four acres and has been treated regularly since January.

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