Finding little fire ants before they’ve had a chance to become truly established is critical. Heavily infested communities in East Hawaiʻi no longer have the option of eradicating the pest, but other communities in Hawaiʻi can remain free of this stinging menace so long as new populations of the little fire ant are detected and controlled or eradicated before they become too numerous and widespread.
It’s up to us to stop them in their tracks. Report any suspected little fire ants before it’s too late.
You may have little fire ants without ANY of the following experiences, so collect and submit ants for identification whether or not you experience:
- Small, slow-moving orange or red ants.
- Stings on your neck or torso, particularly when working in overhanging brush, bananas, and fruit trees.
- Any movement of soil, plants, mulch, or even a used car from an area infested with little fire ants.
- Animals’ exposed skin becoming “mangy” and eyes becoming cloudy; a potential indication that little fire ants could be stinging their cornea.
First, collect some ants:
- Smear a thin coat of peanut butter on one end of a disposable chopstick or popsicle stick. (A thick coat is no more attractive to ants and only makes identification more difficult). If you are allergic to peanuts, use small pieces of luncheon meat and tongs to retrieve the pieces.
- Place sticks in shady areas in, around, and on plants, including potted plants. For a thorough survey, place at least three sticks per plant, and/or one stick every two feet. Leave the sticks out for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Carefully pick up the sticks (so the ants don’t fall off!), and seal them in a plastic bag. Write your name, contact number, and the date on the bag and freeze for 24 hours to kill the ants. An address is helpful, but not required.
- Just because you have ants, doesn’t mean they are little fire ants. Some ants are look-alikes and require an expert to identify them. Turn in ALL ant samples for identification and peace of mind.
Drop off or mail your sample to your local Invasive Species Committee or Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture location:
Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee 808.821.1490
7370K Kuamoo Road
Kapaa, HI 96746
HDOA: 4398A Pua Loke St., Lihue
Maui Invasive Species Committee 808.573.6472
PO Box 983
Makawao, HI 96768
HDOA: 635 Mua St., Kahului
Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee 808.553.5236
P.O. Box 220
Kualapuu, HI 96757
Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee 808.266.7994
743 Ulukahiki Street
Kailua, HI 96734
HDOA: 1428 S. King Street., Honolulu
Hawaiʻi Ant Lab: 16E Lanikaula St., Hilo
HDOA: 635 Mua St., Kahului
Or Report Online via www.643PEST.org