The History of Little Fire Ant Wasmannia auropunctata Roger in the Hawaiian Islands: Spread, Control, and Local Eradication

Vanderwoude, Casper
Montgomery, Michelle
Forester, Heather
Hensley, Ersel
Adachi, Michael K.
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Hawaiian Entomological Society
The islands of Hawaii have been the battleground for successive “inva- sion waves” by exotic ants for over a century. The arrival of Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius) (the big headed ant) in the late nineteenth century, was followed in 1939 by Linepithema humile (Mayr) (the Argentine ant) and Anoplolepis gracilipes (fr. Smith), (the longlegged Ant) in 1953. The most recent arrival is the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata Roger) which was first recorded in 1999. This paper chronicles the subsequent spread of W. auropunctata through the Hawaiian archi- pelago. Initially introduced and spread via the import and sale of nursery plants, W. auropunctata is now well-established on the island of Hawaii. Ubiquitous on the windward side of Hawaii island, W. auropunctata are now being transported not only via nursery plants but also via non-agricultural products. The prevention, detection and response to W. auropunctata introductions is addressed by infor- mal and ad hoc partnerships between a number of agencies, each contributing to preventing and reducing spread of this species. The draft Hawaii Inter-Agency Biosecurity Plan recognizes and strengthens these partnerships and will contribute positively to Hawaii’s biosecurity system.
invasive ants, Wasmannia auropunctata, biosecurity, Pacific
Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society (2016) 48:39-50.
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