Guam worried by little fire ant arrival
Guam looks at implementing more measure to control a little fire ant infestation on the island.
Efforts are underway in Guam to control the little fire ant infestation on the island.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is taking the infestation on Guam seriously and has recently awarded US$100,000 grant to Dr Ross Miller of the University of Guam.
Dr Miller says he is teaming up with the Department of Agriculture to implement control procedures on Guam.
He told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor they don't know how or when the ant arrived on Guam.
DR ROSS MILLER: We system it probably came from Hawaii maybe as long ago as 2002 when there was a large typhoon here and people were starting to bring material as they were cleaned up the property, and that's probably where the ant got started.
MOERA TUILAEPA-TAYLOR: How wide has the infestation been?
RM: It's been a long struggle to get any funds to control the ant and in that time there are about 19 sites around the island from southern part which is a more rural area all the way up to the urban northern part of the island. It's very difficult to survey every part of the island but it looks like it's continuing to spread, part of our project now is going to be ramp up our efforts to increase public awareness, really try to impress people of the danger of moving plants around that have not been inspected, in another words, they can not do things like they use to, the climate has changed here because of this invasive species.
MTT: How serious is it having the little fire ant on Guam?
RM: We have really good examples of what can happen in a tropical Pacific island. The island of Hawaii has little fire ant, the big island of Hawaii, around the Hilo area has severe infestations it's a scourge the ants sting people, cause health problems, they cause blindness in animals by stinging the corneas which become opaque, farmer's are not able to harvest crops because no body wants into the field because they will get covered with ants and get stung. In Hawaii the ants has been spread people moving material around so all of the major islands have little fire ant now. The same thing in New Caledonia, I think about half of the in New Caledonia has quite severe infestations that disrupt wildlife, these ants kill a lot of the small invertebrates, they are predators. They pretty much create ecological desserts in the areas they infest for a long time, this problem is repeated everywhere this ant occurs around the World. We can see might if don't take measure immediately to start to control it.
The damaging invasive ant species is also in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Wallis and Futuna.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: