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 most residents 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).
FREE Ant Collection Kits are available with a request online.
Current Status of LFA on Oʻahu:
- Hawaiʻi Kai – March 2022 – Active Phase
- Hauʻula – January 2022 – Active Phase
- Kahuku – December 2021 – Active Phase
- Maunawili 2 – October 2021 – Active Phase
- Kailua 2 – August 2021 – Active Phase
- Waimānalo 3 – April 2021 – Active Phase
- Kāneʻohe 3 – April 2021 – Active Phase
- Waimānalo 2 – February 2021 – Active Phase
- Mānoa – November 2020 – Active Phase
- Mililani Mauka 2– November 2020 – Active Phase
- Maunawili – October 2020 – Active Phase
- Kailua 1 – October 2020 – Monitoring Phase
- 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
- Lāʻie – October 2019 – Active Phase
- Pauoa – August 2019 – Monitoring Phase
- Makiki Heights – July 2019 – Active Phase
- Lanikai – July 2019 – Active Phase
- Kualoa Ranch – June 2019 – Active Phase
- Kaimuki/Punahou Carnival Plant Sale – February 2019 – Monitoring Phase
- ‘Āhuimanu – January 2019 – Monitoring phase
- Kāneʻohe 1 – December 2018 – Monitoring Phase
- Mililani Mauka 1 – June 2014 – Monitoring Phase
- Waimānalo 1 – April 2014 – Monitoring Phase
Status of LFA Infestation Locations as of August 2021
LFA TREATMENT FOR ERADICATION: 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. The eradication process includes 8 treatments over the course of a year followed by years of regular monitoring to ensure no ant colonies persist. This method was developed by the Hawai’i Ant Lab (HAL), implemented by the Hawai’i 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.
Hawaiʻi Kai – March 2022 – Active Phase
Background: A resident was being bothered by stinging ants in their bathroom. Aware of the little fire ant (LFA) and their devastating impacts, they collected a sample and mailed it in to the Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee. The ants were confirmed to be LFA. A small population on 7 properties has been outlined and is being treated.
Hauʻula – January 2022 – Active Phase
Background: Hawai’i Ant Lab detected two small populations of LFA on a community farm in Hau’ula. These sites are being treated. In partnership with Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee and the farm’s manager; further outreach is being conducted in the community to raise awareness of the ants and submit samples.
Kahuku – December 2021 – Active Phase
Background: A concerned resident reported ants infesting their family home in Kahuku. Preliminary surveys have found a sizeable population. The site needs additional surveys and access to more property before treatment can begin.
Maunawili 2 – October 2021 – Active Phase
Background: A resident was being stung by small red ants while sitting on their living room floor. They sent in a sample that was confirmed to be LFA. The Hawai’i Ant Lab found a fairly sizeable population on 7 properties and the adjacent forested area. Treatment is underway.
Kailua 2 – August 2021 – Active Phase
Background: Following a report of stinging ants, HAL discovered a small population of LFA at a retail business and the adjacent residential property.
Waimānalo 3 – April 2021 – Active Phase
Background: A survey by HAL on agricultural land in Waimānalo resulted in a detection of LFA on two properties.
Kāneʻohe 3 – April 2021 – Active Phase
Background: A concerned resident mailed in ants after being stung in their yard. A small population was detected encompassing 6 residential properties.
Waimānalo 2 – February 2021 – Active Phase
Background: A survey on agricultural land in Waimānalo resulted in a large detection of LFA.
Mānoa – November 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A landscaper familiar with LFA submitted a sample from his residence to HDOA for identification in November. He received a little fire ant testing kit from Koʻolau Farms in Kāneʻohe – a program initiated as a part of “Stop the Ant Month.” Nine properties are being treated, but additional surveys are needed to outline the population.
Mililani Mauka 2– November 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A resident within the treatment buffer for a site initiated in June of 2014 and currently in the monitoring stage reported that LFA are present and infesting his lanai. Evidence indicates that this population is in fact a new infestation and encompasses 13 properties.
Maunawili 1 – October 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A resident in Maunawili noticed small red ants crawling along their back wall. They had heard of LFA through the news and sent in a sample to HDOA for confirmation. Subsequent surveys in the area revealed a population covering 10 properties.
Kailua 1 – October 2020 – Monitoring Phase
Background: A concerned resident submitted samples of stinging ants to HDOA that were identified as LFA. They bought a couple of hibiscus plants from a local nursery almost a year ago. Ants were first noticed the ants coming out of her pots when she watered them. She moved the plants from her backyard to her front yard and has since noticed the ants spreading all around her property. Resident became concerned and submitted a sample when the ants began to invade the house. Surveys of the surrounding residences have revealed a small population covering four properties. Treatment of the area has been taken on by the resident with the support of HDOA and HAL. A midpoint survey in April 2021 detected ants in one small area of the yard- treatments are working. Entered monitoring phase on May 9th, 2022.
Sunset Beach- April 2020 – Active Phase
Background: A resident submitted an ant sample to HAL which was confirmed to be LFA. Surveys with HAL and HDOA revealed a small population on four properties close to Sunset Beach. Two residents have been able to carry out treatment on their properties and that of their neighbors with the support and guidance from HAL and HDOA. No LFA were detected during the midpoint survey.
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. Four properties were surveyed and found to be positive. The population is currently being treated.
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 Heights site found in July 2019. The two populations do not appear to be connected. This is an extensive population encompassing 20+ residences. Treatment of the population has been initiated.
‘Āina Haina – December 2019 – Active Phase
Background: A public report by a resident in late December 2019 confirmed LFA. Surveys revealed a small population encompassing 8 properties. The area is currently being treated.
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 property manager and his team have been managing the site during the COVID-19 shutdown. Follow-up surveys in October 2020 show a significant decrease in the size of the population. The area will continue to be treated by the condo complex with support from HAL and HDOA.
Lāʻie – October 2019 – Active Phase
Background: Ant samples were submitted to HAL that were confirmed to be LFA. HAL and HDOA are currently surveying the area to find the extent of the infested area. It is unknown where the LFA originated. HAL and HDOA have defined large portions of infested area and have begun treatment. *Due to the 2021 flooding event, debris containing ants may have been moved and it is likely there are more LFA in Lāʻie- All Lāʻie residents are asked to collect and submit and for identification.
Pauoa – August 2019 – Monitoring Phase
Background: A resident submitted an ant sample to HAL that was confirmed to be LFA. HAL and the HDOA have treated the area and have seen great results. Recent surveys have revealed NO LFA at the original infestation site. Entered monitoring phase March 23rd, 2022.
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 encompass 18 properties. It is unknown where the LFA originated. Treatment is ongoing at this time.
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 the little fire ants and decided to check his property with the peanut butter/stick test and officials confirmed little fire ants. After a delimiting survey six properties were found with ants and treated before Covid shut down operations. Surveys following shutdown revealed a significant decrease in population size. The infested area on two properties is currently undergoing treatment.
Kualoa Ranch – June 2019 – Active Phase
Background: The infestation 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 underwent treatment. The Kualoa Ranch Land Stewardship teams have been working hard to treat the area. 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 and 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 implemented LFA tests to check plants before the sale.
‘Āhuimanu – January 2019 – Monitoring phase
Background: 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. 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. Monitoring surveys in 2021 found no LFA. The infestations in Kāneʻohe and ‘Āhuimanu do not appear to be related.
Kāneʻohe 1 – December 2018 – Monitoring Phase
Background: A resident in Kāneʻohe 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, but it is not clear how the ants were introduced to the area. Monitoring surveys in 2021 found no LFA.
Mililani Mauka 1 – June 2014 – Monitoring Phase
Background: Mililani Mauka is the second large infestation detected on Oʻahu and the only known infested residential site. In June 2014, a resident brought ant samples from his yard to HDOA after being stung and 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 1 – 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 seven 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 ant samples to either location:
- O’ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)
- 743 Ulukahiki St.
- Kailua, HI 96734
- 808-266-7994 – Mon-Fri, 7:00am-3:30pm
- Hawai’i Department of Agriculture (HDOA)
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- 1428 S. King St.
- 808-973-9600 – Mon-Fri, 7:45am-4:30pm