Honolulu (KHON2) – October is ‘Spot the Ant, Stop the Ant’ Month and you can be a part of the solution.
Christy Martin from the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (“C-GAPS”) and Serena Fukushima of the Maui Invasive Species Committee joined Living808 to explain how everyone can pitch in.
“Stop the Ant Month is all about engaging the public in this citizen science project to help find new infestations of harmful ants like little fire ants, or “LFA”, and other harmful new ants that could arrive with imported goods,” explains Fukushima.
Martin stresses some ants are causing “real harm to the environment, agriculture, and people, like little fire ants.” She warns, “Once they become established, they get to extremely high populations–20,000 ants per square meter!–and form a 3-D infestation—ground, plants & trees—and they don’t hang on too well. They rain down on people and sting. And they move into your house.”
Little fire ants are not widespread in many areas on Hawaii Island and are also not considered established on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The point isn’t to just find out where these ants are, but to hopefully control or even eradicate them where possible. The Hawai‘i Ant Lab has developed a number of products and control methods that work.
We have a chance to stop them, as long as they are found early and have not spread too far.
Each year in October, residents are asked to collect ants from their property, freeze them to kill them, then send them to officials for identification. That’s how we can find them early.
Visit www.StopTheAnt.org<http://www.StopTheAnt.org> to request your free ant collection kit. Ant collection is an easy project, and it is really important. Or, if you suspect you have LFA in a new location, you can also call the State Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378) or report it online at 643PEST.org .