NAHIKU — A roughly 150-acre section of Nahiku jungle seems even more enormous when compared to its miniature foe.
Little fire ants, called one of the worst invasive species in the world and smaller than the average friendly ant, have millions of queens and billions of workers living in this East Maui area. Thick vegetation and dangerous terrain make the tiny terrors difficult to combat despite years of treatment administered on foot.
This week, though, humans may have helped Nahiku’s native ecosystem gain the upper hand in the struggle to combat the invasive insect.
Spraying low-toxicity gel bait via helicopter Tuesday marked a milestone for the Maui Invasive Species Committee and Hilo-based Hawaii Ant Lab, two key groups fighting the little fire ant. Fifteen helicopter trips covered the 158-acre swath in a single day.
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