HONOLULU, Hawaii – Two bills that would advance the fight against the Little Fire Ant were deferred until Monday for decision making in House committee.
House Bill 2431 would appropriate funds to the Hawaii invasive species council for the creation of a statewide public awareness campaign on the little fire ant. Meanwhile, House Bill 2469 would establish and appropriate funds for a little fire ant pilot project to research solutions for addressing the little fire ant threat in Hawaii. Hawaii County would be the primary beneficiary of such a pilot project sine the little fire ants are so well established in East Hawaii.
During recent House Committee on Agriculture hearing on these bills, testifiers from the private sector tried to remind lawmakers not to forget about the help they can provide.
Tim Lyons, Executive Director of the Hawaii Pest Control Association, testified in person as well as on paper:
While we support the general intent of this bill, we would employ you to consider the use of the private sector. Private pest control operators are trained every month on ant control, their biology and the better methods of control. As an example, the little ﬁre ant typically harbors in trees and bushes up as much as six (6) feet high. You cannot use granular baits on this pest and what you use has to be containerized.
We very much feel that the little ﬁre ant is quickly getting out of control just like the coqui frog. HPCA attempted to help out on the coqui frog problem only to have the Department ofAgriculture give sprayer units to homeowners so they could utilize citric acid. As a result, because they could do it that way, they stopped hiring pest control operators. You know the result of the coqui frog infestation. We do not want to see the same thing happen with the little ﬁre ant and have them infest papaya’s and bananas, etc. and then not be able to distribute them. Tim Lyons via written testimony, Jan. 30, 2014
Also during the hearing, Hilo representative Richard Onishi had some intense questioning for a representative from the invasive species council.
“Its like the state has dropped the ball on this,” Onishi said.
Status of bills represent up-to-date information via State Legislative website
HB2431 – Appropriates funds to the Hawaii invasive species council for the creation of a statewide public awareness campaign on the little fire ant.
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HB2469 – Establishes and appropriates funds for a little fire ant pilot project to research solutions for addressing the little fire ant threat in Hawaii.
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