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Latest little fire ants detected when Twin Falls visitors stung

ZACH PEZZILLO photo

Getting stung while hiking and swimming at Huelo’s Twin Falls is what tipped people off to the latest infestation of little fire ants on Maui, the island’s third detection this year that was confirmed by Maui Invasive Species Committee on Wednesday.

The infestation area of about eight acres encompasses several homes and spots frequented by hikers and swimmers.

Samples collected downstream from the infestation’s core also show little fire ants; additional survey work will determine if the ants have spread along the waterway.

The infestation was reported in early November by an area resident living in the infested zone and a former MISC employee, both of whom had been stung while visiting the popular hiking and swimming spot off Hana Highway, according to MISC.

Survey work by two dozen people, along with MISC and state Department of Agriculture staff, was done Nov. 14 to determine the size and spread of the infestation.

MISC file photo

A community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Haiku Community Center to discuss what’s known about the Twin Falls little fire ant infestation and plans for eradication.

Visit stoptheant.org to find out more information on collecting samples of ants and the status of LFA on Maui and throughout the state.

Suspected populations of little fire ants can be reported to the Maui Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture at 873-3080 or MISC at 573-6472.

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