- Associated Press - Monday, August 31, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - The Department of Agriculture appears to have won the battle against one of the world’s most invasive species in some Honolulu neighborhoods.

Officials went to check traps in Mililani Mauka and Waimanalo, where the department completed treatments to fight off little fire ants three months ago. They laid down bait and found no ants, KHON-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1KWEMrg).

“It’s so important that we get the cooperation from the public - without the public, we can’t do anything,” said Derek Arakaki with the Department of Agriculture.

Inspectors found the ants in a shipment from the Big Island to Maui last summer.

The pest was first detected on the Big Island in 1999, but the population there was deemed too widespread for eradication.

The little fire ant can produce painful stings, large red welts and can cause blindness in pets. The ants can build up large colonies on the ground and in trees and plants, and have been known to completely overrun properties.

Originally from South America, the little fire ant has been established in the Pacific region for more than 40 years, having been accidentally introduced as hitchhikers on imported plants.

The agriculture department will continue to monitor the areas for three years to make sure the ants don’t return.

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Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com

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