East Hawaii News

Liliuokalani Gardens Closes for Fire Ant Treatment

May 19, 2015, 6:31 AM HST
* Updated May 19, 9:01 AM
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Queen Liliuokalani Gardens will be closed briefly Tuesday as the County of Hawai’i Department of Parks and Recreation treats the park for little fire ants.

Weather permitting, work will begin in the morning, and the park is expected to reopen by noon. Department of Parks and Recreation officials say the weather plays a large role in determining when work can begin and how long the park will remained closed.

“Little fire ants are considered to be one of the world’s worst invasive species,” Jason Armstrong, Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer, told Big Island Now. “They’ve been on Hawai’i Island for the past 16 years. Attempting to control them is very difficult, especially when LFA’s have had so many years to get established.”

Follow-up testing shows that significant progress has been made. Hakalau Veterans Park and Kula’imano Park both show no little fire ant activity. While a lack of activity at these parks has been seen, they are not little fire ant free. According to the Hawai’i Ant Lab, the parks must have no little fire ant activity for two years before being declared ant-free.

In addition, Armstrong noted major reductions in the populations of little fire ants at Naalehu Park by 71 percent, Honoli’i Beach Park by 68 percent, and at Machado Acres Park by 75 percent.

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“The high concentration LFS areas are now mostly along the park borders, rather than in higher-use areas. We [the department] see this as a very positive sign,” Armstrong explained.

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Currently, 30 different park sites are receiving little fire ant treatment.

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