WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "The little fire ant will affect every part of our way of life here in Hawaii". Rob Curtiss of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture didn't mince words when describing the threat posed by the little fire ant.
"They'll affect tourism, they'll affect agriculture, living in our homes" he continued.
Curtiss was at the four-acre site of a little fire ant infestation in Waimanalo. It was discovered in April. Thursday marked the first of eight pesticide applications in the area. The applications will take place over the course of a year.
The pesticide won't kill the ants right away.
"The eggs never hatch. As the older workers die off, the colony gets smaller and smaller and collapses on itself. Then the queen dies because no one is bringing her food" Curtiss explained.
After a year of pesticide treatment, the DOA will monitor and continually check the site for two to three more years to make sure the colony doesn't spring back to life. The reason for the long term treatment is because the threat is so great.
"It'll affect absolutely everything we can think about here in Hawaii if they get too widespread and get out of control. That's why we're working very hard to eradicate these infestations," said Curtiss.