BREAKING NEWS ALERT: October 25, 2019 – Little Fire Ant (LFA) has been detected on Kaua’i in the Kilauea area. This is the first new population of LFA found on the island since 1999. LFA are a serious invasive threat to our island and all Kaua’i residents are urged to test their property to check for the presence of these small stinging invaders. Testing is easy and a free kit is available at several locations island-wide, see list below.
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Kaua’i Locations where Free LFA Test Kits are available:
- Any local library (Princeville, Kapaa, Lihue, Koloa, Hanapepe, and Waimea).
- Kauai Humane Society, Puhi
- Lihue Veterinary Hospital, 3113 Oihana St, Lihue
- North Shore Animal Clinic, 4244 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea
- Natural Pet Hawaii, 1596 Haleukana St, Lihue
- Kilauea Paint and Feed, 2488 Kolo Rd, Kilauea
- HDOA office on Pua Loke in Lihue
- KISC office, 7370 Kuamoo Rd, Wailua. Call us at 808-821-1490 or email email@example.com
Alternatively, you can easily test for LFA using materials already available at home: all you need is some chopsticks, peanut butter, and a ziplock bag. Visit stoptheant.org for instructions and a short video on how to test.
Little Fire Ant
- This ant is orange-red to light brown in color, all workers are 1.5 mm in length (half the size of a sesame seed, or as long as a penny is thick, about 1/16 “)
- Slow-moving, easily dislodged from leaves, plants, and trees
- Tolerates wetter conditions and lives in leaf-litter or trees
- Native to Central and South America, LFA were accidentally introduced as hitchhikers on imported plants
- Delivers a painful sting when disturbed. Welts can last for weeks
- Infests agricultural fields and farms, where they damage crops and sting workers
- Promotes plant pests such as aphids, white flies and scale insects, which secrete plant sap that the ants eat. In turn, the ants protect these insects from natural predators and parasites.
- Can also infest houses, beds, furniture and food
- Has been known to cause corneal clouding and blindness in pets
- In the Galapagos, LFA eat tortoise hatchlings and attacks the eyes of adult tortoises
- One infestation is known in the Kalihiwai area since 1999 and is under active control by KISC and HDOA. As of 2019 it has been reduced to close to undetectable levels.
- In October, 2019, Kauai’s second known LFA population was detected in the Kilauea area. Treatment is ongoing over a 2.5 acre area encompassing 15 properties.
- The Pono Endorsement program promotes Best Management Practices to help stop the introduction or spread of LFA. Pono Endorsed Nurseries and Landscapers are doing their part to another introduction of LFA by adopting pono business practices that help keep LFA from hitchhiking to Kauai.
- You can help plant pono by reporting Testing for LFA and reporting LFA to KISC at 808-821-1490 or firstname.lastname@example.org or HDOA at 643-PEST. Report any suspected Little Fire Ants immediately!
- Use a wooden chopstick or stir stick and dip in peanut butter
- Place peanut butter dipped sticks around yard in shady areas
- Leave sticks out for at least 1 hour
- Collect sticks and place in plastic bag
- Freeze bag for 24 hours
- If you suspect LFA, write your name, location, and phone number on bag, and mail or drop off bag to HDOA or KISC office
- HODA: 4398 A Pua Loke St, Lihue
- KISC: 7370 #K Kuamoo Rd, Kapaa
- LFA have a few look-a-likes:
- Solenopsis geminata, the Tropical Fire Ant, is very commonly mistaken as the Little Fire Ant. If you’ve been stung by an ant on Kauai, it was most likely a Tropical Fire Ant. Tropical Fire Ants are widespread on Kauai, mostly found on the South and West sides. Their habits are far different from those of the Little Fire Ant, in that they build mounds on the ground, are fast moving, swarm, and most distinguishable, are much bigger than the Little Fire Ant.