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Contact: Ben Hayes, 671-333-4051
To avoid exposure to fire ant bites, people should not enter the marked quarantine area at any time. The quarantine area will extend from the park entrance west to the base of Asan Ridge and from Marine Corps Drive north to the park road (please see attached map). In addition, to prevent spreading the pest, removal of fruit, plants, or any natural material from within the closed area is prohibited until further notice. Fishing and removal of fruit for personal use outside of the closed area, however, is permitted.
According to Integrated Chief of Resources, Mike Gawel, "The ants appear limited to a few of the palms in the triangle bordered by Marine Corps Drive, our paved park road and Asan Ridge but exposure to people and removal of fruits or plants could spread the ants to other parts of the park or island. This is a serious island-wide threat and we are working to form coordinated multi-agency approaches to these insect pests."
Outside of the closed area, recreational activities such as walking, jogging, and picnicking can continue safely without danger of the Little Fire Ant.
In consultation with experts, the park is considering several options to eradicate the Little Fire Ant from Asan Beach including the application of pesticides as well as cutting and burning infested trees in place. First discovered on Guam in 2011, the invasive Little Fire Ant has devastated parts of Hawaii and proven very challenging to eradicate.
To learn more about the Little Fire Ant, visit http://www.littlefireants.com/
– NPS –