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Hilo, Hawaii News, Sports, & Information Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Posted: Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 10:11 AM HST

Little fire ant spreads to Maui, Oahu

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) An invasive ant species has spread to Oahu and Maui from the Big Island.

The state Department of Agriculture said Tuesday the little fire ants were discovered at a garden shop on Maui last week. A few days later entomologists found infestations on hapuu ferns at another Maui store and at several Oahu garden shops.

The little fire ant measures just one-sixteenth of an inch long, but can produce painful stings.

The species is native to South America. It was first found in Hawaii in Puna in 1999.

The department says anyone who has recently purchased hapuu logs or planters should contain them by placing them in a plastic bag and seal it. They should also contact their nearest state Department of Agriculture office as soon as possible.

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