Ants have invaded Waipahu Intermediate School and they’ve become more than a nuisance. They’re getting into computers and other equipment, costing the school a lot of money.
A viewer told KHON2 via Report It that red and black ants are getting inside the classrooms and crawling their way inside computers and telephones.
When we first heard about it, we were told that teachers and students were getting stung. So we went to see for ourselves and found out that stinging wasn’t the worst of it.
Just to be clear these are not Little Fire Ants. But these pests are destroying expensive equipment.
Principal Randell Dunn took us around the school to point out the ant infestation. He’s as frustrated about it as everyone else.
He says the problem has gotten worse because the ants have become more aggressive.
“Before the ants weren’t biting people. They would go for the electrical equipment and things and now they’re starting to bite people,” Dunn said.
“It is affecting students. They get bit, teachers get bit. Our EAs (education assistants) get bit, they eat our phones, they eat our computer wires. They’re everywhere,” says teacher Renee Blue.
Red ants that are partially black are actually crawling through the holes and getting inside the phones, computers, even electrical outlets, and making them useless.
“It cost a lot of money. We have to upgrade we have to buy new equipment we don’t have money for it,” Blue said.
School officials say the problem has gotten worse than ever just this school year. Teachers have tried to come up with their own solutions but none of them have worked.
The school has reported the problem to the Department of Education and a crew with the Facilities Maintenance Branch has applied ant bait gel traps in the affected areas.
The teachers plan to put more traps in their classrooms if the infestation keeps growing. If that doesn’t work, the principal says he’s going to need the DOE’s approval to hire an exterminator.
“So the vice-principal is getting the information of where and who’s having issues with the ants so that we can strategically see what we can do so now it’s traps and I guess now we just monitor,” Dunn said.
That exterminator might be needed sooner than later. Principal Dunn also pointed out another pest problem: flying beetles constantly swarm the ceiling of a building, and the problem has been going on for several years.