The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has declared that little fire ants (LFA) have been eradicated from a Mililani Mauka neighborhood.
The infestation was originally discovered in June 2014.
On Wednesday morning, a multi-agency pest detection crew conducted the final survey of homes in the infestation zones and no LFA were found.
“Eradication of a pest once it is established is a monumental task,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “The success of this effort can be attributed to the collaboration of many partner agencies and to the great cooperation of the residents and the community association.”
The infestation zone covered six acres, including 21 homes on Auina and Kopalani streets, and a gully between the two streets.
A multi-agency group has been working since to treat and survey the area, including HDOA, the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL), the Oahu Invasive Species Committee, and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.
According to the treatment plan developed by HAL and HDOA entomologists, several alternating types of pesticides and bait formulas are applied on a six-week interval. The last treatment of the infestation zone in May 2015.
Extensive surveys were conducted periodically to check for LFA and none have been detected. HDOA will continue to monitor the perimeter area to check for any reinfestation.
Originally from South America, LFA is considered among the world’s worst invasive species. They 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.