County Attacks Fire Ants At Richardson Ocean Park
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by Hunter Bishop
Correction: Yesterday’s article on fire ants at Richardson Ocean Park incorrectly said spraying was used to kill fire ants. Instead baited vials were placed on the ground to attract the insects. The article also incorrectly said the pesticide Amdro was used to eradicate fire ants based on information provided by the Department of Parks and Recreation. A department spokesman later said that was incorrect but was unable to clearly identify the pesticide that was used. The information about Amdro has been removed from the story.
County officials will be deploying pesticide in hopes of further reducing the nasty little fire ant population at Richardson Ocean Park in Keaukaha.
The ants, an invasive species that can inflict a painful sting and itchy welt that can last for weeks, affecting people and animals, have been a problem at the park for the past several years, said Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Jason Armstrong.
The county first applied a commercially available pesticide in January along the shoreline trees at the King’s Landing side of the Richardson Ocean Park, eliminating an estimated 50% of the little fire ant population, Armstrong said.
The department will close the park, weather permitting, at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, so maintenance personnel may apply a second round of baiting treatments in an attempt to eliminate continued little fire ant infestations. Armstrong described the treatment as “non-toxic.” The park is expected to reopen at 7 a.m. the following morning.
The University of Hawai‘i is assisting the county to develop an effective strategy for reducing little fire ant colonies at Hawai‘i County parks, Armstrong said.
The little fire ants are tiny red-orange ants about one-sixteenth of an inch long, or about as long as a penny is thick, according to the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture website.