East Hawaii News

HTA Aids in Fire Ant Combat with Grant

January 29, 2015, 7:29 AM HST
* Updated January 29, 4:06 PM
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A $50,000 grant has been received by the County of Hawai’i Department of Parks and Recreation from the Hawai’i Tourism Authority to help combat fire ants.

The grant, which is part of the HTA’s 2015 Natural Resources Program, is one of four being awarded to Big Island organizations.

Funding received from the grant will aid in the payment of the three-person team of fire ant control technicians, purchase bait, and subsidize other expenses that relate to the ongoing treatment program.

In order to meet the terms of the grant, improvement must be made to both the visitor experience and resident enjoyment of natural resources in Hawai’i.

The grant will be used to fund treatment efforts, which will take place through December 2015, at Richardson Ocean Park, Lili’uokalani Gardens, and the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Each of the three sites are free and popular to both visitors and residents.

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Official say that fire ants are known to be one of the world’s worst invasive species, with painful stings that cause welts in humans and can blind animals.

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Ongoing treatment efforts are being made at 28 County recreational sites and facilities that officials say have the highest concentrations of fire ants.

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