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Fire ant eradication plan targets Waimanalo

  • We all need to work together to control and eliminate the new pest invasions and prevent them from getting to other islands. In particular, we need to kill off invasions of little fire ants while we have a fighting chance.

State agricultural officials on Friday released details of a plan to eradicate the little fire ant infestation in Waimanalo.

Starting in a few weeks crews from a variety of agencies will treat a 3 1/2-acre area with a combination of pesticide baits. Treatments will continue for at least eight times over a 12-month period, said Robert Curtiss, acting manager of the state Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Branch.

If the area is clear of the ants at the end of the 12 months, eradication efforts will end and monitoring will start for three years, Curtiss said.

A survey was conducted last month covering more than 50 acres from Kumuhau Street to Mahailua Street. The survey collected 60 LFA ants from about 1,500 samples.

"Eradication plans require good preparation and methodical planning," said Scott Enright, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture. "We can’t just go into an infested area and just spray pesticides — there’s a science to it."

The tiny ant with a powerful sting has been described as being among the world’s worst invasive species.

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