INFORMATION ON LITTLE FIRE ANTS ON OAHU AND MAUI

Posted on May 2, 2014 in Main
worker lfa
Worker LFA
kapoho lfa
LFA infestation

 

UPDATES

  • Town meeting scheduled by state senators Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani on Monday, July 14 at 7 p.m. at Mililani Mauka Elementary School Cafeteria.

 

INFORMATIONAL MATERIAL ON LFA

PUBLICATIONS

VIDEOS

 

LFA News Releases from HDOA

DATE

TITLE

June 27, 2014 Little Fire Ants Found in Mililani Neighborhood
Summary of survey conducted in Mililani Mauka
June 18, 2014 Small Infestation of LFA at Maui Hotel
May 15, 2014 Eradication Efforts Begin to Combat LFA in Waimanalo
May 2, 2014 Plan Developed to Eradicate Little Fire Ant Infestation in Waimanalo
Dec. 31, 2013 Stinging Ants Found on Plants Sold at Oahu and Maui Garden Shops

 

 

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April 7, 2014

On March 27, 2014, a HDOA survey crew detected little fire ants in an area outside of two nurseries in Waimanalo.  On April 3rd, a multi-agency response team conducted an extensive survey of the area to determine the extent of the infestation.  About 1,000 samples were taken and logged by GPS. Analysis and mapping will take about one week. The survey was headed by HDOA and included staff from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Oahu Invasive Species Committee and the University of Hawaii.

At this time, the little fire ant is not established in any nurseries in Waimanalo to our knowledge. Repeated surveys inside the nurseries and on the nursery stock have not captured any little fire ants.

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Jan. 15, 2014

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has confirmed that an invasive stinging ant called the Little Fire Ant (LFA) has spread from Hawaii Island to Oahu and Maui.

On Dec. 23, a customer at garden shop on Maui reported a suspicious ant to the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), which sent the specimens to HDOA entomologists who confirmed the identification of LFA.

On Dec. 26, HDOA entomologists surveyed several nurseries and stores and found LFA infestations on hapuu (Hawaiian tree fern) at several garden shops on Oahu and at another Maui store.  All infested hapuu were contained and the areas secured.

HDOA is asking the public’s help in surveying for LFA in their yards by using peanut butter bait sticks to attract LFA, then freezing the ants in a sealed plastic freezer bag for at least 24 hours and call HDOA’s Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378)

HDOA is advising those who recently purchased hapuu logs or planters to contain the logs by placing them in a plastic or garbage bag and seal it securely.  They should contact their nearest HDOA office as soon as possible.

Maui – (808) 872-3848

Oahu – PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).  This is also a toll-free number for neighbor islands.

“It is important that those who have recently purchased hapuu which may be infested with little fire ants to help contain the infestation and contact us as soon as possible,” said Dr. Neil Reimer, administrator of HDOA’s Plant Industry Division. “Through past experience, we know we can contain an infestation if we find it in its early stages.”

Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species.

LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch long, are pale orange in color and move slowly. LFA move slowly, unlike the Tropical Fire Ant which is established in Hawaii, move quickly and are larger with a larger head in proportion to its body. LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation and completely overrun a property. They will also freely move into homes.

The first detection of LFA in Hawaii was in the Puna area in 1999. Surveys determined that LFA appeared to have been on the east side for several years prior to their initial detection and was widely distributed in Puna. Attention was then focused on controlling ant populations and preventing the spread to non-infested areas on the island and to other islands.

In October 2009, LFA was detected on a farm in Waihee, Maui. Eradication efforts at that site appear to have contained the infestation, which is being continually monitored. HDOA staff also trained Maui County employees, MISC and private pest control operators on Maui to assist in recognizing and reporting possible infestations on the island. MISC is also assisting HDOA in conducting surveys at high-risk areas on Maui.

 

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OTHER RELATED LINKS:

LFAhawaii.org

Hawaii Ant Lab

UH-CTAHR LFA Webpage

UH-CTAHR Master Gardener Webpage

 

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MEDIA COVERAGE:

News coverage on Infestation in Mililani Mauka

Hawaii News Now – April 2, 2014 - Infestation in Waimanalo

Honolulu Star-Advertiser – April 4, 2014 - State crews tackle coqui frog reports, little fire ants.

Lahaina News – Jan. 23, 2014

Hawaii News Now Sunrise Morning Show – Jan. 14, 2014

KHON News – Jan. 7, 2014