Note that these ants may be present anywhere on Oʻahu, and the status report is only for infestations that were discovered and reported. We need your help to find them before colonies grow too large to eradicate. Oʻahu has the highest population of all the islands, which means that we have a greater chance of catching little fire ants before they become established. Test your property at least once a year and Find them before they find you…survey your yard and submit your ant samples to the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA).
- Sunset Beach- April 2020 – Active Phase
- Kahala – February 2020 – Active Phase
- Makiki Lower – January 2020 – Active Phase
- ‘Āina Haina – December 2019 – Active Phase
- Kāneʻohe 2 – November 2019 – Active Phase
- Laie – October 2019 – Active Phase
- Pauoa – August 2019 – Active Phase
- Makiki Heights – July 2019 – Active Phase
- Lanikai – July 2019 – Active Phase
- Kualoa Ranch – June 2019 – Active Phase
- Kaimuku/Punahou Carnival Plant Sale – February 2019 – Monitoring Phase
- ‘Āhuimanu – January 2019 – Monitoring phase
- Kāneʻohe 1 – December 2018 – Monitoring Phase
- Mililani Mauka – June 2014 – Monitoring Phase
- Waimānalo – April 2014 – Monitoring Phase
LFA TREATMENT FOR ERADICTION: It may be helpful to understand that it takes at least 4 years to be sure of a successful eradication of an infestation of little fire ants. We aren’t trying to just control ants and reduce their numbers, eradication means completely removing them from a site. Eradication treatment includes the 8 treatments, followed by years of regular monitoring to ensure all ant colonies have been eradicated. This method was developed by the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab (HAL), implemented by the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and has proven successful in various sites across the state.
Active Treatment Phase: Once LFA are confirmed at a site, a full survey to find the edge of the infestation, followed by treatments of the area (plus treatment of a “buffer zone” around the edge) every 6-8 weeks over the course of one year. At the end of the year, an intensive survey is conducted to detect any remaining little fire ants. If ants are found, that site is treated in the same manner for an additional year. If and when no ants are found, the site moves into the next phase of the eradication program…monitoring.
Monitoring Phase: Once the active treatment phase is completed and no LFA are detected, the site is surveyed quarterly for at least 3 years. Only at the end of this treatment and monitoring regime with no LFA detected can an infestation be considered eradicated.
Below are the details of the LFA sites on Oʻahu and their various stages of the eradication process.
Sunset Beach- April 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A resident submitted an ant sample to the HAL and was confirmed to be LFA. Initial surveys with HAL and HDOA revealed a small population on two properties close to Sunset Beach. During the COVID-19 shut down, the two property owners have been able to carry out treatment on their property with the support and guidance from HAL and HDOA.
Kahala – February 2020 – Active Phase
Background: Landscape staff had been getting stung under trees, suspected LFA and reported to HAL. Samples submitted confirmed an LFA population just off of the Kahala shoreline. Two properties were surveyed and found to be positive. The full extent of the population will be determined and treatment will begin when field operations resume following COVID-19 shutdown.
Makiki Lower – January 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A public report by a resident in January 2020 led to the discovery of LFA below the original Makiki site found in July 2019. It is unclear at this time whether the two neighboring sites are connected. The full extent of the population will be determined and treatment will begin when field operations resume following COVID-19 shutdown.
‘Āina Haina – December 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A public report by a resident in late December, 2020 lead to the surveying of a neighborhood in ‘Āina Haina. At least five properties have LFA. The full extent of the population will be determined and treatment will begin when field operations resume following COVID-19 shutdown.
Kāneʻohe 2 – November 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A positive ant sample sent to HAL from a tenant at a condo complex in Kāneʻohe revealed an extensive population of ants in and around several buildings. The extent of the population has been outlined and treatment will begin when field operations resume following COVID-19 shutdown.
Laie – October 2019 – Active Phase
Background: Ant samples were submitted to the HAL that was confirmed to be LFA. HAL and the HDOA currently surveying the area to find the extent of the infested area. It is unknown where the LFA have originated.
Pauoa – August 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A resident submitted an ant sample to the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab (HAL) that was confirmed to be LFA. HAL and the HDOA currently surveying the area to find the extent of the infested area. It is unknown where the LFA originated.
Makiki Heights – July 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A resident submitted an ant sample to HAL that was confirmed to be LFA. HAL and HDOA surveyed the area and found the infestation to be approximately 18 properties. It is unknown where the LFA have originated.
Lanikai – July 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A Lanikai resident had first noticed a persistent rash and constant painful itching. After a doctor’s visit couldn’t determine the cause, he googled the symptoms and found information about LFA and decided to check his property and submit ant samples. Officials confirmed little fire ants. After a delimiting survey, there are six properties that have the ants. It’s unknown how they got there, but thankfully they were found before they spread further.
Kualoa Ranch – June 2019 – Active Phase
Background: The area involved is about 14 acres in an area that previously underwent a native species restoration project and currently is not open to human foot traffic. A buffer zone of 20 acres is being planned for treatment. With the direction and support of the HAL and HDOA, the Kualoa Ranch Land Stewardship teams are working to treat the area.
A master treatment plan was finalized in September 2019 and treatment of the area was initiated by the Kualoa Ranch Land Stewardship team. As of September 2020, they have reached the one year treatment benchmark. Kualoa Ranch completed surveys of the affected location and have found that the treatments have had a very positive impact on reducing the overall size, as well as reducing the density of the ant population itself. Treatments will continue until eradication can be declared.
Kaimuki/Punahou Carnival Plant Sale – February 2019 – Monitoring Phase
Background: A resident in Kaimuki reported that she and her infant were stung while in bed. A fern purchased at the Punahou Carnival on Feb. 2nd had been placed on a nightstand next to the bed. The resident noticed tiny ants crawling on the nightstand and she was getting stung in her bed. She collected samples and brought them to HDOA and were confirmed as LFA by state entomologists. The plant was bagged and frozen to destroy any ants. Other plants that the resident purchased at the carnival were also checked and no more LFA were detected. The nightstand area was the only place in the home where LFA were found. To date…no more ants have been detected.
Punahou School officials and carnival coordinators worked with HDOA and HAL to survey the areas at the school where the plants were staged and sold and no little fire ants were detected. In 2020, the Punahou Carnival coordinators worked with OISC and HAL to coordinate and check plants all plants prior to the plant sale and no LFA were detected.
‘Āhuimanu – January 2019 – Monitoring phase
Background: In late January, an ‘Āhuimanu resident reported stinging ants and HDOA entomologists confirmed that they were LFA. Surveys of the area and a nearby home of a relative detected two infestation sites around ‘Āhuimanu Rd. Crews conducted multiple surveys of the neighborhood to determine the boundaries of the two infestations. The main site involves 13 properties and the other site involves five properties, totaling about three acres, including 15-meter buffer zones around each site. The infestations in Kaneohe and ‘Āhuimanu do not appear to be related.
Kāneʻohe 1 – December 2018 – Monitoring Phase
Background: On December 13, 2018, a resident contacted HDOA to inquire about ants in her home. On December 19th, staff from HAL retrieved the ant samples which were identified as LFA. Surveys found LFA on 11 properties, and it is not clear how the ants were introduced to the area.
Mililani Mauka – June 2014 – Monitoring Phase
Background: Mililani Mauka is the second large infestation detected on Oʻahu and was the first known infested residential site. In June 2014, a resident brought ant samples from his yard to HDOA after being stung.Because of this, the infestation was discovered while it was relatively small (about 20 adjoining properties & green spaces). Equally important, all the neighbors allowed staff on their property to test for and treat the ants. Beginning in August 2014, HDOA, HAL and OISC began treating every six weeks. No LFA have been detected since 2016.
Waimānalo – April 2014 – Monitoring Phase
Background: Located on an abandoned lot, this was the first large infestation discovered on Oʻahu. Detected in April 2014, the infestation and treatment area is roughly six acres. Based on the size of the population, LFA had likely gone unnoticed and/or unreported for several years before it was detected. The HDOA, the HAL and the Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) conducted ten treatments between May 2014 and April 2015. Subsequent monitoring surveys had detected 2 isolated LFA colonies within the site. Those areas underwent a second treatment cycle and the site is now back into monitoring phase since 2019.
On Oʻahu you can mail your ant samples to either location:
- Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee
- 743 Ulukahiki St.
- Kailua, HI 96734
- 808-266-7994 – Mon-Fri, 7:00am-3:30pm
- Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- 1428 S. King St.
- 808-973-9600 – Mon-Fri, 7:45am-4:30pm