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Posted: Friday, April 4th, 2014 12:10 PM HST

Invasive little fire ants discovered in Waimanalo

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Hawaii lawmakers criticized state agricultural officials this week after little fire ants were discovered in Waimanalo.

Sen. Clayton Hee said on the Hawaii Senate floor Wednesday that officials delayed telling the public about the infestation of the tiny invasive insect. Hee says he worried other nurseries around the area could become infested with the stinging ants.

Department of Agriculture Director Scott Enright later told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1i4VohT ) that the infestation was discovered in the state Agricultural Lots in Waimanalo less than a week ago. He says an inspection suggests the ants have been on the ground and in the trees there for two or three years.

A multiagency team will follow up and wipe out the infestation. Enright says that process could take as long as a year.

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