Little Fire Ant Infestations

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Pest of the Month | 0 comments

Little Fire Ant Infestations

LFA The Little Fire Ant

The little fire ants or(LFA) have become a problem all over neighborhoods of the Pacific. Though these petite passive ants from South America are seemingly harmless, for Hawaii they pose a credible threat. They can deliver a potent painful sting, cause blindness in animals they attack and throw off the balance of biodiversity. 

Should LFA have a chance to increase their population in Hawaii, they could become the state’s worst parasite and the most destructive to the bio-system. All over the Pacific neighborhoods have been overwhelmed with this little creature.  If a solution is not mitigated to halt this little fire ants propagation, Hawaii could stand to lose much of our agricultural crops.  Not only crops, but peace of mind to enjoy our own gardens, yards, hiking and recreational areas would be under assault. Birds who nest in the ground, sea turtle hatchlings, pets, and even common pests, which are part of our eco-system would be under attack. Once these little fire ants are get a foothold, it is next to impossible to eradicate them.

The spread of little fire ants takes place with the transport of plants, plant material, greewaste and refuse to news sites. Not only are these ants hazardous to pets, but infest fields and yards as well as move into houses and other buildings.  These tiny ants can cause a burning sting when they bite and may even cause welts and then develop into an intense itch lasting for more than a week.

LFA can be seen in vegetation or on the ground. They will explore plants of all sizes in their search and fall off when the plants are brushed.  When picking fruit, pruning trees or picking flowers can bring LFA falling down in mass onto an unsuspecting person.

Though new to Hawaii, the little fire ant is native to Central and South America and has spread not only to Hawaii, but throughout the Pacific. First being recognized in Hawaii in the late 90s at Puna’s Hawaiian Paradise Park. Though early attempts were made in halting the infestations, the ant has continued to spread from infestation in plants and nurseries.

On Kauai, Maui and Big Island attempts have been made to control infestations. With limits on agency resources and lack of sufficient staff, control or eradicate these pests has been impossible. Public assistance in identifying and working with agencies to help eradicate them is essential.

More information about fire ant eradication in Hawaii Click Here

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