In October last year (2019), a new population of Little Fire Ants (LFA) was detected on Kauai in the Kilauea area. This was the first new population found on the island since 1999. LFA are a serious invasive threat to Kauai and all residents are urged to test their property to check for the presence of these small stinging invaders.
We need your help Kauai! If we find them early, we can stop them before they take over. Testing is easy and a free kit is available at local libraries island-wide.
COVID update for October 2020: Kauai libraries are open with limited services, and LFA kits are available for pickup. Check out the links for hours of the library closest to you:
- Hanapepe Public Library: 4490 Kona Road, Hanapepe (808) 335-8418 https://www.librarieshawaii.org/branch/hanapepe-public-library
- Kapaa Public Library: 4-1464 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa (808) 241-4422
- Koloa Public Library, 3451 Poipu Road, Koloa (808) 742-8455
- Lihue Public Library: 4344 Hardy St, Lihue (808) 241-3222
- Princeville Public Library: 4343 Emmalani Dr, Princeville (808) 826-4310 https://www.librarieshawaii.org/branch/princeville-public-library/
- Waimea Public Library: 9750 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea (808) 338-6848
For two decades, Kauai has done a great job keeping LFA at bay, but these are “hitch-hiker” ants that can arrive at any time. So we need to stay vigilant to watch for them. Finding these invaders early before they become established is critical.
What can you do? Test your yard for little fire ants!
Test your yard for LFA, submit the samples, and help stop the ant!
Current Status on Kauaʻi
Little Fire Ants are now established at two locations on Kauaʻi:
- Kalihiwai area: infestation detected in 1999; controlled and currently reduced to near-undetectable levels.
- Kilauea area: new infestation found in October, 2019. Treatment has been initiated.
Any ants suspected to be little fire ants on Kaua’i should be collected and reported. Reports can be made to Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee (KISC), 808-821-1490 or Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), 808-643-PEST (7378).
- Background: First identified in 1999, HDOA quickly treated the trees and surrounding areas of the infested site. The population was thought to be eradicated, but in 2002, a survey revealed an LFA super-colony spanning several acres from the original infestation site. HDOA and KISC managed the efforts in order to contain the infestation until an effective treatment method was developed. In 2012, Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL), HDOA, and KISC developed an eradication plan with new effective treatment methods implemented by HAL.
- Current Status: Treatment/Monitor. Over the last 3 years, HAL, HDOA, and KISC continued treatment on the infested area and have kept it contained to the same site. Most recent surveys indicate that little fire ants have been reduced to near-undetectable levels. HDOA and KISC will continue to monitor the area and apply treatment as needed.
- Background: Kauai’s second population of LFA was found in Kilauea town in October, 2019. The affected area was delimited by surveys conducted by HDOA and KISC.
- Current Status: Treatment is ongoing in the affected area, led by Kauai HDOA using methods developed by HAL. Repeat surveying will be performed regularly by HDOA and KISC to track progress.
Island-wide surveys: KISC and HDOA conduct island-wide surveys for little fire ants. Survey sites include gardens, nurseries, transfer stations, schools, and other high risk locations. Surveys are also conducted at various locations on Kauai based on the rapid response to calls about suspected LFA (stinging ants). Regularly surveying for little fire ants will help prevent them from becoming widespread on Kauai.