Maui News

Ant Infestation Forces Temporary Closure of Holua Campground

September 3, 2011, 8:18 PM HST
* Updated September 4, 4:30 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Argentine ants tendng a nest. Photo courtesy Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk project HEAR.

The Holua campground at Haleakala National Park will be closed on two nights this month as crews treat an invasive ant infestation.

The temporary closures will take place on the nights of September 8 and 22, 2011.

Park officials say the Argentine Ants were originally found in relatively small areas of the mountain, but are now spreading.

The species is described as aggressive, and a nuisance to humans.  Researchers say the ant, which is a native to South America, also has damaging effects upon native insects, resulting in potential adverse impacts to native plants.

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Park officials say control efforts are necessary to prevent the ants from spreading to other campgrounds in the crater and areas within Haleakala National Park.

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Backcountry camping permits for the Holua campground will not be issued on the closure dates.

Park managers will treat the Holua campground and area around the cabins with ant poisons that have little to no odor and are extremely low to non-toxic to humans and non-target animals. Treatment notice signs will be posted in the area.

Visitors planning to hike near the Holua area during these days are encouraged to use other on-trail areas for resting spots.

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