Little fire ants (LFA, Wasmannia auropunctata) have begun to spread throughout the state.
First introduced to Puna in 1999, and shortly thereafter to Kauai, these ants are one of the worst invasive species imaginable in Hawaiʻi. They invade houses, gardens, and forests. The ants are also arboreal; they swarm up plants and trees. When disturbed, they drop off, falling onto people and animals. Unsuspecting victims are left with painful stings.
Until recently, little fire ants were limited primarily to Hawaii Island but as infestations have grown there, so has inevitability of their spread.
In January of 2014 little fire ants were detected on Oahu, leading to a multi-agency response resulting in containment and eradication. These tiny pests have hitchhiked to Maui and Lanai as well. Meanwhile Hawaii Island residents are faced with creating sanctuaries amidst a sea of stinging ants.
The Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) has released a new, 30-minute public service announcement describing the impacts of this species in Hawaii, what is being done to minimize its impacts and what the public can do to assist in the detection and control of this species. You can watch the video below or visit the MISC YouTube page, the MISC website, or learn more about LFA at the Spot the Ant, Stop the Ant website.
Funding support for this video was provided in part by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.