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Posted on Oct 12, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

 (LĪHU‘E) – The recent detection of a new population of Little Fire Ant (LFA) in Wailua River State Park, was confirmed by a sample submitted by a concerned citizen, showing how essential residents are to the process.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee (KISC) surveyed the surrounding area and currently estimate the new infestation covers 13-35 acres. Surveys, led by KISC, to determine the full extent of the infestation are ongoing.

Curt Cottrell, Administrator of the DLNR Division of State Parks said, “The location of this LFA population is concerning because of its proximity to the Wailua River. LFA can “raft” along waterways allowing them to spread far greater distances.”

“Our current priority is to find a solid perimeter of the infestation,” said Tiffani Keanini, KISC Manager. “After we identify the size and terrain, we begin to develop a response plan, brainstorm management strategies, and list resources needed to address the population.”

This comes during “Stop the Ant Month” in Hawai`i, a multi-agency effort that encourages community awareness and participation to combat the negative economic and environmental impacts of LFA. KISC works with various DLNR divisions, HDOA, Hawaiʻi Ant Lab and the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council for access, resources, and technical expertise.

KISC asks Kaua‘i residents to collect ants on their properties by using a smear of peanut butter on several chopsticks and leaving them out for about an hour. The peanut butter attracts ants. Sticks should then be carefully collected and sealed in a zip-top bag and frozen for 24 hours to kill any ants, then dropped off or mailed to the KISC office for identification.

Through the collective efforts of HDOA, KISC and the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab, previous attempts to contain LFA on Kauaʻi have been largely successful.

Prior to this year, LFA were established at three locations on the island.

  • 11 acres in Kalihiwai (detected in 1999)
  • 2.5 acres in Kilauea (2019)
  •  12 acres in Moloaʻa (2020)

Ant populations at Kalihiwai and Kilauea have been controlled and reduced to near-undetectable levels. Treatment efforts at Moloaʻa are ongoing and recent surveys show the population is under control.

“New detections of little fire ants are always concerning,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “As with previous incidents, we appreciate the cooperation between the multiple agencies in helping to contain infestations and prevent the further spread of these invasive ants.”

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)


HD video – How to test for Little Fire Ant:


Kaua`i Invasive Species Committee (KISC):


For more information and to request your free ant collection kit, visit:


Media Contact:

Ryan Aguilar

Communications Specialist

Hawai’i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

[email protected]