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Kaneohe neighborhood treated for fire ants

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The state Department of Agriculture and Hawaii Ant Lab treated a residential neighborhood in Kaneohe today for an infestation of little fire ants.

The infestation was first reported on Dec. 13 by an Alokahi Street resident who had recently traveled to Hawaii island. An investigation by HAL confirmed that the insects involved as little fire ants on Dec. 20 and subsequent inspections to the residence and surrounding areas was carried out earlier this month.

Today, 11 properties spanning approximately two acres, as well as a 50-feet buffer zone, were treated with multiple types of pesticides and bait formulas. According to the treatment plan developed by HAL, the applications will be repeated on a six-week interval for a total of eight treatments.

“This coordinated treatment and response plan for this infestation has been proven effective in the past and we appreciate the continued assistance of the different agencies and also the cooperation of the residents,” said Denise Albano, chairperson of the state Board of Agriculture. “This incident also reminds everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspected infestation of little fire ants.”

The ants originate from South America and are considered one of the world’s worst invasive species, according to the DOA. They were first discovered on Hawaii island in 1999.

In June 2014, infestation of little fire ants covering six acres was discovered in Mililani Mauka. The ants were successfully eradicated following a similar treatment plan.

The DOA advises that invasive species be reported to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE – 643-PEST (7378).

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