Hawaii County could receive $306,237 to evict the little fire ant from its parks.
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is considering a bill today to provide the funds to the county Parks and Recreation Department as part of a pilot project.
According to Senate Bill 2920, the funds would be used to address their spread within county parks, test various pesticides for controlling and eradicating the invasive species, and develop strategies that other counties can implement.
The copper-colored ant is small, about 1/16 of an inch long. Its bite is painful, and may cause welts and itching.
Parks spokesman Jason Armstrong said the ant has been identified at the Keaau Senior Center.
The ants were first reported on the Big Island about 15 years ago.
They can be found from lower Puna to Laupahoehoe, according to the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. They are also found on Maui, Oahu and Kauai.