Posted October 3, 2016 by Rachel Smith
It is the second annual Statewide Little Fire Ant (LFA) Awareness Month! While every month is important in the invasive species battle, this month we are offering additional activities for you to get involved in protecting Kauai from this nasty invader.
It has been 1.5 years since we have found the only known Kauai LFA population to be at undetectable levels, and it takes a total of three years to be declared eradicated. Woohoo! This is good news for Kauai, as long as we keep new infestations from entering the island. Little Fire Ants are tiny, only a ¼ inch long, and hitchhike quite well. They travel in plants, plant material, yard tools, backpacks, pockets of your clothes, and cars. Please take a moment this month to do your part in protecting Kauai from LFA.
Throughout October there will be free LFA test kits available at all local Kauai public libraries. You may pick up a kit, test your yard or business for LFA, and if they are suspected, turn in the ants to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture office or the KISC office. KISC is also offering two free movie nights to show the documentary “Fire! Little Fire Ants in Hawaii”. This 30-minute film outlines the history, biology, and impact of LFA in Hawaii, and what you can do to protect your family. Click here for more information about times and locations of these movie nights. Lastly, please make it a regular practice to only purchase plants grown locally. Historically, the only known LFA that made it to Kauai, were brought in on plants from off-island.
Big Island is known to have Little Fire Ants widespread on both the Hilo and Kona sides of the island. And Maui and Oahu, well, there are some areas on those islands where OISC and MISC are having a hard time containing the LFA populations. Since LFA prefer to nest in plants and trees, plants that are ordered from LFA infested areas of other islands are at risk of being contaminated. When shopping for plants, be sure to ask the nursery sales associate if the plants you are purchasing were grown locally. If those plants are from off-island, ask if they can help you find a locally grown alternative. Some Pono Endorsed nurseries could also help in finding you locally grown plants, and the Pono Endorsed landscapers take extra steps in preventing the introduction or spread of invasive species into your yard.
Every test that is turned in during the month of October will be entered in a drawing to win a Pono Gift Basket.
Drop off LFA kit locations: Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA): 4398A Pua Loke Street, Lihue, or
Kauai Invasive Species Committee (KISC): 7370 Kuamoo Rd, #K, Kapaa
Do your part as a Guardian of the Garden Isle, and test your yard for LFA today!