Since learning about the little fire ant (LFA) infestation in one Mililani Mauka neighborhood, we've been passing out LFA home survey starter kits to help raise awareness and encourage Mililani Mauka residents to check their homes for LFAs.
It’s likely that LFAs have lived in Mililani Mauka for years unidentified. So it’s very important you take the time to check your home, too, which will help the Hawaii Department of Agriculture identify and treat LFA infestations more quickly and effectively. If you’re already aware of LFA on your property, please call the PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378) as soon as possible.
If you have not received a kit but would like one to test your home, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 586-9460. Please note that the kits do not include peanut butter due to the prevalence of peanut allergies.
Performing a home survey is simple and consists of the following steps:
1. Smear a thin coat of peanut butter on one end of a chopstick or popsicle stick. (You can break them to create more sticks.) A thick blob won’t help attract more ants and may make identifying the ants difficult. Don’t use tape.
2. Place the sticks around plants and areas where ants may be present. At least three sticks per plant or one stick every two feet is recommended. Don’t move plants that you think might be infested. Leave the sticks out for an hour.
3. Place the sticks, with ants attached, in a sealable plastic bag. Write your name and address, the date and a contact number on the bag then freeze it for 24 hours. Please don’t mail live ants.
4. Mail or drop off the sample to:
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Plant Pest Control Branch
1428 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
This information, as provided by the HDOA, is also available online at hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2014/05/LFASurvey.pdf. Additionally, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has produced a 3-minute video , “How to Test for Little Fire Ants,” which will give you a step-by-step visual guide for testing your yard. DLNR’s video is available at vimeo.com/97558997.
A community meeting on the LFA will be held on July 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mililani Mauka Elementary School cafeteria.