Little fire ants infest neighborhood in Mililani Mauka

Published On: Aug 06 2014 03:25:08 AM HST   Updated On: Jun 27 2014 07:19:47 PM HST
MILILANI, Hawaii -

They may be small, but they are creating a big problem for many residents.    

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

Little fire ants invaded a neighborhood in Mililani Mauka. Just Last month state workers tried to eradicate them from a wooded area in Waimanalo.

The state is wasting no time trying to get rid of them.

These ants have been bothering Joseph Lee's family on Auina Street since they moved in four years ago. Lee said he didn't know what kind of ants they were until his neighbor reported the problem last week to the Department of Agriculture.

"I have a 4-year-old son. When he was in the crib he was getting bitten already from back then," said Lee.

Michele Ae described what it felt like to get a sting from one, "It kind of was like a regular mosquito bite at first. Thought it was something stinging and when you scratch it it was like a little red welt and itches."

Pest control officials mobilized to do a neighborhood-wide survey after confirming the infestation of little fire ants. They placed test tubes in and around yards and homes.

Officials confirmed infestations in nine homes on the block.

"This ant has gone unreported for many years, so this problem is widespread and very large. It's likely that there's other neighborhoods on Oahu that have this same problem that have little fire ants and people don't realize it they think it's a little ant," said Robert Curtiss with the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture officials first detected the ant on Oahu December of 2013. They're still treating a 3.5 acre gulch in Waimanalo found infested in May.

Finding them in a neighborhood is a major problem. Officials said the ants can build large colonies. Not only can they affect agriculture but they can hurt your pets too, something neighbor Cheryl Rodrigues is concerned about.

"They are saying because it's slow moving it can affect the pets and we let them out in the yard. It can affect the eye and it gets really cloudy," said Rodrigues.

After the survey is finished Department of Agriculture officials will figure out how to combat the infestation in the neighborhood.

They ask if you find what could be fire ants in your neighborhood to call the statewide hotline at 643-PEST.

Little Fire Ant_Single

PHOTOS: Fire ants discovered in Mililani Mauka neighborhood

Click here for more fire ant photos.


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