Agriculture officials said Wednesday a small infestation of invasive Little Fire Ants (LFA) is undergoing treatment on Maui.
The infestation was confirmed in late May at a hotel in Wailea.
Upon confirmation, crews from Maui Invasive Species Committee, the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL) and Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) immediately conducted a concentrated survey and determined that the infestation covered an area of about 400 square feet.
It was immediately treated with pesticide and the hotel will do follow-up treatments every six weeks under the direction of the HAL.
“The area of infestation was caught early and crews are extremely confident that it can be eradicated,” said Scott Enright, chairperson for the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We cannot express enough how important it is to find any infestation before it becomes widely established.”
To aid in the effort, the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has produced a three-minute video called “How to Test for LFA,” which shows the step-by-step procedure for testing for LFA. (Watch the video above.)
LFA can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets.
Suspected invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free pest hotline at 643-PEST (7378).