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 (or any suspected new species of ants) before it’s too late. Survey your yard and submit ants to be identified by specialists. Request an Ant Identification Collection Kit to be mailed to your mailing address.
You may have little fire ants (or even new species of harmful 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:
PLEASE NOTE: The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has requested that all ant samples be sent to the Invasive Species Committee on your island (e.g. Oahu Invasive Species Committee, Kauai Invasive Species, Committee, etc.) or the Hawaii Ant Lab. We will update this video to reflect this change. Mahalo!!
- 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.