Little fire ants (LFA) have the potential to decimate property and make areas uninhabitable when not controlled. They are an invasive species that is highly adaptable and very aggressive. They have been found on the Big Island for the past 15 years and have been identified on Oahu and Maui, however, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has been successful in keeping them at bay so far on Maui and Oahu. To get an idea of the destructive nature take a few minutes to watch this video of the damage they’ve caused into Headey and the potential destruction on a wahoo’s shipping and plant industry.
Little fire ants are smaller than our local topical fire ant which is generally found in warm areas near the beach. They are 1/16 of an inch range or light brown in color and produce large painful raised red welts when it stings.
LFA have been identified on Oahu in Waimanalo and Mililani but again, those areas are under control for the time being (2017). More information on their identification from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture can be found here.
HDOA has a unique way of testing your property for little fire ants it basically boils down to putting peanut butter on a chopstick and putting them around your yard near the plants after 10 to 20 minutes you should be able to find some if you have them in the yard. The agriculture department is highly interested in the identification of LFA and can provide the testing kit if needed. If you find little fire ants on your property do not treat them yourself! Contact the Agriculture Department Who will do a thorough inspection investigation and treatment for your home and the surrounding area.
Little Fire Ant Control Process
Although we have not had to treat little fire ants on Oahu, we have been trained from the University of Hawaii guys on the front line of the battle from the Hawaii Island infestations. They are probably the most difficult ant species to treat on Oahu, because of their ability to divide colonies very easily and their ability to nest in trees. They also have an incredible reproduction rate.