Little Fire Ants: How to ID Them & What to do

February 8, 2018, 5:45 AM HST · Updated February 8, 8:13 AM
Meteorologist Malika Dudley · 0 Comments
Little Fire Ants: How to ID Them & What to do


Little fire ants on pb chopstick. Photo credit HAL.

 Two new infestations of little fire ants were discovered last month on Maui. Oftentimes, these infestations are difficult to identify and control. Maui Now’s Malika Dudley spoke with entomologist Mach Fukada to find out exactly how to identify these invasive insects and what to do if you suspect an infestation.



Peanut Butter Test:

Take a chopstick or popsicle stick with a small dab of peanut butter (the least amount possible) place it where you suspect an infestation. Once the ants stick to the peanut butter, put it in a ziplock bag, freeze it and send it to the address below with your contact information written on the bag. The department will look at the ants under a microscope and let you know whether they are little fire ants or not.


State of Hawaii, Department of Agriculture

Attn: Mach Fukada

635 Mua St. Kahului, HI 96732


More resources: 

Hawaii’s Stop The Ant campaign website

Hawaii Ant Lab Little Fire Ants website

Guide to Managing Fire Ants around the home

Meteorologist Malika Dudley
Malika was born and raised in Hilo. She began her career in news at KGMB9 in 2007. As a part of the Hawaii News Now weather team, Malika was nominated for two Emmy Awards for excellence in weather reporting and won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Journalism Award for her reporting on Hawaii’s tsunami damage in 2011. In 2019, Malika was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter in the category of Science Reporting for her Big Island Now news report on what was happening beneath the sea surface at the ocean entry of the Puna lava flow.  

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