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State releases video on how to test for little fire ants

June 19, 2014 - 4:38pm

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has produced a three-minute video, “How to Test for LFA,” which shows the step-by-step procedure for testing for LFA. The video was released Thursday, in the wake of a recent discovery of a little fire ant infestation at a Maui hotel.

The video was produced by DLNR in cooperation with Hawaii Department of Agriculture and other agencies that are jointly addressing the little fire ant issue. It features invasive species biologist Domingo Cravalho Jr. of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one of the participating agencies.

The little fire ant was first discovered on the Big Island in 1999. In late December 2013, the ant was detected on hapuu logs (Hawaiian fern) at retail stores on Maui and Oahu. Since its detection, Oahu and Maui nurseries have been surveyed. Five Oahu nurseries, three of which were in Waimanalo, were found to have small infestations of LFA, which were treated and are clear of the ants.

In late May, crews began treating a 6-acre area in Waimanalo, which included a 3.5- acre infestation area and buffer zone. Follow-up treatments are continuing.

Originally from South America, the little fire ant is considered among the world’s worst invasive species, according to the DLNR.

Little fire ants are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch in length, are pale orange in color and move slowly. The ant 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 buildings and homes and completely overrun a property.

Suspected invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).

Click here to view the video.