Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

fire antWritten by
Pacific Daily News


The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is taking the little fire ant infestation on Guam seriously and has recently awarded a $50,000 grant to Dr. Ross Miller of the University of Guam Entomology Lab. He is teaming up with the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to implement control procedures for Wasmannia auropunctata, the scientific name for little fire ant (LFA).

“The Department of Agriculture has already begun LFA control efforts and this grant will allow our lab to offer technical expertise and assistance in pre and post treatment surveys as well as the actual control of the ants,” said Miller.

Miller’s team is conducting a detailed sampling for LFA in two areas that DOA has already been treating with pesticides including Tango™, an insect growth regulator. “We expect the impact of the pesticides to be rapid, but we need to sample the areas multiple times for 2 years without finding LFA to say they are truly gone. We expect to demonstrate that these ants can be controlled, which is why ongoing funding is crucial,” said Miller.

If residents have not yet been affected by LFA, they may soon be without these control efforts. Little fire ants have established colonies in many areas throughout the island. It is important that people do not transport soil, plants, or plant parts that may be infested with LFA.

The little fire ant is listed by the Global Invasive Species Database as one of the top 100 worst invasive species worldwide and is considered the greatest invasive ant threat to the Pacific region. They deliver a very painful sting causing an extremely itchy rash. Guam has already had one incident of a child needing medical treatment after being stung by LFA.

Guam Department of Agriculture and University of Guam personnel continue their collaborative efforts to protect the island’s natural environment from the devastating effects of invasive species. It takes everyone on the island to do his or her part in controlling an invasive insect like the little fire ant.

For more information on LFA, please visit http://www.littlefireants.com. To report sightings of LFA or any other invasive species, please call 475-PEST (7378)

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kealiapondnationalwildliferefugeByron Chin
Hawaii’s Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge


By John Upton
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Byron Chin
Hawaii’s Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
So far the EPA has refused to ban use of neonicotinoid insecticides — despite mounting evidence that they kill bees and other wildlife, despite a ban in the European Union, despite a lawsuit filed by activists and beekeepers.

But if the EPA is somehow still unclear on the dangers posed by neonics, it need only talk to the official who oversees federal wildlife refuges in the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Ocean.

Kevin Foerster, a regional boss with the National Wildlife Refuge System, directed his staff this month to investigate where neonics are being used in the refuges they manage — and to put an end to their use. Foerster’s office is worried that farming contractors that grow grasses and other forage crops for wildlife and corn and other grains for human consumption on refuge lands are using neonic pesticides and neonic-treated seeds. There are also fears that agency staff are inadvertently using plants treated with the poisons in restoration projects.

“The Pacific Region will begin a phased approach to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (by any method) to grow agricultural crops for wildlife on National Wildlife Refuge System lands, effective immediately,” Forster wrote in a July 9 memo that was obtained and published last week by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety. “Though there will be some flexibility during the transition and we will take into account the availability of non-treated seed, Refuge managers are asked to exhaust all alternatives before allowing the use of neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands in 2015.”

An information sheet attached to the memo notes that “severe declines in bee fauna have been a driving force behind the growing concern with neonics,” but that other species are also being affected. The information sheet also warns that pesticide drift, leaching, and water runoff can push neonics into wildlife habitats near farmed lands.

The use of the pesticides in U.S. wildlife refuges has triggered outcries and lawsuits from groups that include the Center for Food Safety. “Federal wildlife refuges were established to protect natural diversity,” said Paige Tomaselli, an attorney with the center. “Allowing chemical companies to profit by poisoning these important ecosystems violates their fundamental purpose and mission.”

Foerster’s move will help protect nearly 9,000 acres of refuges in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands from ecosystem-ravaging poisons.

But the memo has significance beyond that. It confirms that wildlife experts within the federal government are acutely aware of the dangers that the poisons pose. Now we just need the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the EPA to talk to each other.

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See video on coconut rhinoceros beetles:



Troubling new developments unfold in war against invasive pest

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 2:06 AM CDT
Updated: Apr 30, 2014 4:05 AM CDT
By Chelsea Davis

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (CRB) have been captured in new areas around O’ahu.

The latest detection was Tuesday afternoon at Ke’ehi Lagoon Park.

So are we losing the war against them?

The battle against the CRB began right before Christmas.

Now it has spread from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to other areas outside the base.

They’re a threat to an iconic image of Hawaii because the tiny pests have a voracious appetite for palm trees.

“The adult beetle will bore into the crowns of coconut trees and if enough damage is done to the coconut tree, it can actually kill the tree,” said Darcy Oishi, Hawaii State Plant Quarantine Manager.

Efforts to eradicate the pests are increasing.

In fact, traps have popped up all around the island.

Between April 12th and April 25th, surveyors found 26 adults beetles. All but two were at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. One was found at Iroquois Point, the other at Ke’ehi Lagoon Park.

“That number of detections since we started the program is actually an indicator that we’re doing a pretty good job on containing the problem,” Oishi said.

The origin of the Rhino beetle still remains a mystery.

Oishi says trying to control population and eventually eradicate the pests is priority.

“This is gonna be a long project, it’s gonna be a three year project once we eliminate all the breeding sights that we know of to monitor and make sure there are no beetles,” he said.

State quarantine officials say it’s too early to say if the beetles are here to stay.

If you see the beetle or traps that have fallen, you are asked to call the pest hotline at (808) 643-PEST.



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Posted March 30, 2014 – 1:00am
Invasive species bill stirs debate

– See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/invasive-species-bill-stirs-debate#sthash.6svZCvj7.dpuf



HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Springer Kaye of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee show how to attract and find out if your garden or plant has little fire ants by placing peanut butter on the end of chopsticks and sticking the chopsticks into the soil peanut butter side up. Once the chopstick is covered in ants, Kaye says to place a plastic bag over the chopsticks and close the bag. Then place the bag in the freezer until able to take the ants to be identified. – See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/invasive-species-bill-stirs-debate#sthash.Ruhal9S0.dpuf

Stephens Media Hawaii
A Maui coffee farmer said controlling invasive species such as the coqui frog and fire ant is a Big Island problem.

“They already have them, we don’t. Why put the cost on us?” asked Bobbie Becker, owner of Maui Mountain Coffee Farm. “They’ve got it there.”

Becker is a supporter of state Senate Bill 2347 — written as an attempt to control the spread of invasive species to the local agriculture industry — which soon will be taken up by the House Finance Committee.

Parts of the bill would prohibit the transportation of the pests and establishes penalties for violations, including language that would require any commercial entity that transports invasive species to pay a fine equal to the value of the infested shipment.

Eric Tanouye, president of Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association and vice president of Green Point Nurseries, called the bill “a detriment to the Big Island.”

“They are distracting, and distracting all of us from the main objective,” he said. “How do we make ag thrive on the Big Island and in the State of Hawaii?”

Springer Kaye, manager of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, said the committee agrees with the intent of the bill, but does not support SB 2347 and thinks it puts the Big Island at a disadvantage.

“Unfortunately, SB 2347 specifically targets the already struggling horticulture and agriculture economy on the Island of Hawaii, without providing any appropriation to re-establish the state programs required to effectively stop the spread of invasive species,” she said. “Rather than creating a path toward a healthy exchange of pest-free, island-grown produce, this bill will put a stop to any intraisland, and in some cases, cross-island trade.”

Big Island Reps. Faye Hanohano and Clift Tsuji were among the six representatives who voted in favor of the measure March 21.

Tsuji said he voted with “strong reservations” and recognizes the concerns of Big Island ag supporters.

“They have strong doubts and disagree with what the purpose of the bill is trying to do,” he said. “They think it would devastate the industry,” he said.

Tsuji thinks the state could take a different approach at solving the spread of invasive species.

“We have to stop the spread of invasive species in the state of Hawaii,” he said. “How do we do that? By getting inspectors, inspectors, inspectors.”

Tanouye agreed.

“Our industry is 100 percent for the Department of Agriculture hiring more full-time inspectors,” he said.

Kaye also believes there are better alternatives to solving the problem.

“In SB 2347 and similar punitive bills, the Legislature attempts to address problems directly resulting from a decade of defunding successful state programs and positions including the Hawaii Department of Agriculture inspection and pest control programs, Hawaii Department of Health Vector Control Branch, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Invasive Species technicians and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, which received zero dollars in general funds in 2007 and from 2010-13,” she said in an email.

The bill would put the state Department of Agriculture in charge of identifying infested areas, providing information about managing and mitigating the pest populations and working with commercial entities to implement the practices.

Janelle Saneishi, DOA public information officer, said the department will host a private meeting on the bill this week.

“Our legislative team says the department supports the intent of the bill, which is to prevent the movement of invasive species interisland,” she said. “We have set a meeting with the industry to hear their concerns to come up with a bill that is effective but does not overburden our local farmers and growers.”

Email Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaiitribune-herald.com.


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