22 Sep 2014

Guam in fire ant fight

12:51 pm on 22 September 2014

Efforts are underway in Guam to control the little fire ant infestation on the island.

The ants, first detected in 2011, are also on Hawaii where their painful sting has led to health problems for some people and caused blindness in animals by stinging their corneas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service has 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 says Guam is a transportation hub and they are concerned the little fire ant may spread to other nations in Micronesia.

It's really important I think that we control the ant as best we can here at the same time we are protecting of Guam we are also protecting these other islands and there are 2100 islands in Micronesia and they all have the potential of being infested if we are not careful."

Dr Ross Miller says part of the programme to control the infestation will be educating the public.

The damaging invasive ant species is also in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea and Wallis and Futuna.

The little fire ant is is considered to be perhaps the greatest ant species threat in the Pacific region.