State wants help battling Little Fire Ants

Little Fire Ant

A Kaimuki resident who didn’t want to be identified was bitten by what he thinks could be a Little Fire Ant in his yard.

“It was kinda hot, really hot. The feeling of the bite really burned and it was really itchy,” the resident said.

He didn’t buy plants from any nurseries, but they could have come from his neighbor’s yard. He sprayed them with a pesticide.

“Noticed that it killed cockroaches and a lot of the other ants, but it didn’t kill the red ants at all,” the resident said.

The damage from Little Fire Ants are well documented, bites that can cover your arms with welts. Pets are believed to be blinded after being bitten on the eyes.

The founder of the Hawaii Ant Lab on the Big Island says the battle is already lost over there. He’s now part of a group of different state, city, and federal agencies trying to fight it on Oahu. He says it will take an effort from the whole community.

“If everybody chipped in and checked their landscaping for any kind of unusual ant species, that just makes the job so much easier for the rest of the team,” said Cas Vanderwoude of the Hawaii Ant Lab.

They’re asking residents to check their plants and yard for unusually small orange-colored ants. If you suspect you might have them, put some peanut butter on a chopstick, leave it out for 45 minutes, and if ants are attracted, put the stick in a plastic bag, and freeze it, then contact the Department of Agriculture.

That’s what the Kaimuki resident did and he’s now waiting for experts to take a look.

“How worried are you?” KHON2 asked.

“I’m not really worried yet because it’s contained to a small area, but once it starts spreading, then I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” the resident said.

Inspectors will try to get out there on Wednesday to take a look. We’ll let you know if those ants in the yard are Little Fire Ants.

The resident has a dog and small child, but he doesn’t plan on letting them out in the same area.

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