There’s a big meeting about little fire ants (LFA) tomorrow night at the Haiku Community Center. It’s being hosted by the good folks at the Hawaii Ant Lab, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, County of Maui and the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC). They’ll provide a lot of info on the extent of Maui’s little fire ant infestations, the most of recent of which was discovered in Huelo and Haiku in mid-January.
“Given the estimated size of the Huelo infestation, it has likely been there for several years,” states a Feb. 23 MISC news release on the upcoming meeting. “The little fire ants found in Haiku were spread from Huelo and officials are confident of eradication in that instance. Initial control on both the Huelo and Haiku populations has begun.”
Little fire ants are one of the nastiest invasive species currently threatening Maui. “Passive and deceitfully small in size, these South American imports pose a grave threat to Hawaii,” states the website Lfa-hawaii.org. “They can deliver a painful sting, blind animals, and reduce biodiversity.”
Maui’s had to deal with a considerable number of little fire ant infestations, and that’s just since 2009. One especially high-profile infestation occurred last summer at the Andaz Maui Resort in Wailea. Here’s more from the MISC news release:
“The most recent Huelo/Haiku discovery of LFA follows on a rash of LFA discoveries on Maui in the past year. This report marks the ninth little fire ant discovery on Maui since 2009. Following the December 23, 2013 detection of infested hapuu from Hawaii Island, small populations of little fire ants were found at several retail stores and South Maui locations. In September of last year, Maui’s largest wildland infestation was discovered in a forested area near Nahiku in East Maui. All locations are currently being treated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture or the Hawaii Ant Lab.”
Anyway, the Feb. 25 LFA meeting at the Haiku Community Center starts at 5:30pm. Anyone seeing little fire ants is urged to call to the Maui Invasive Species Committee at 808-573-6472. For more information, visit Lfa-hawaii.org.