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City workers to learn how to kill fire ants, rhinoceros beetles

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE
    Little fire ants.
  • COURTESY MARK SCHMAEDICK / AMERICAN SAMOA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
    A female Oryctes rhinoceros beetle.
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About two dozen city ground maintenance workers are expected to attend Tuesday’s initial training session on how to spot and eradicate invasive fire ants and coconut rhinoceros beetles.

The two non-native pests were first detected in Hawaii in December 2013 and have been the focus of a joint state and federal eradication effort.

The fire ant was found in Mililani Mauka in June. They have been on Hawaii island since 1999, but in December 2013 they were detected on Hawaiian ferns at stores on Maui and Oahu. Small infestations at five Oahu nurseries, three of which were in Waimanalo, were treated and the ants were eradicated.

State officials have said the beetle was found in July at Campbell Industrial Park outside a buffer zone set up to catch the beetle. The beetle was first detected in December 2013 within Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu agriculture liaison Dr. Po-Yung Lai and members of the Oahu Invasive Species Committee are scheduled to discuss the new partnership training program and citywide efforts to eradicate the pests on Tuesday morning.

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