Fire Ants Invading the Big Island

Maya Anderson, Reporter

Fire ants are an invasive species. They were first noticed in 1999 at a house in Hawaiian Paradise Parks in the Puna district. Fire ants are a major threat to Big Island residents, animals and plants. Their sting burns strongly and itches intensely for weeks. They are also a potential danger to people with allergic reactions. The stings are known to harm animals, and multiple stings can cause blindness or even death. They also hurt businesses by stunting growth of plants, spoiling fruits, and premature fruit. Fire ants drive tourists away which causes our island to loose millions of dollars. “The little fire ant is considered one of the nastiest ant species because of its biology and cryptic nature” says a local invasive ant research technician.

Little fire ants have spread from the east side to at least eight sites on the west side. The Hawaii Ant Lab has developed a bait called HAL gel bait. The bait has the active ingredient Tango, a pesticide that regulates insect growth. It prevents larvae from completing the insect cycle and also prevents the queen’s egg production. I believe that these little fire ants that have invaded our island can cause major damage and should be exterminated as soon as possible.