Why It Matters

Ecological Impact

Little fire ants rank among the world’s worst invasive species (Lowe et. al.,2000). Especially on a geographically isolated island like Guam, invasive species have a greater chance of threatening and potentially endangering native flora and fauna on the island by monopolizing our resources which eventually will¬†disrupt the health of our ecosystem.

Blindness

Livestock and wild animals have gone blind after repeated stings in the eye from little fire ants.

(Photo credit: Cynthia King)

Monopolize resources

Guam is home to some of the world’s rarest and most unusual insects. Little fire ants monopolize resources within a habit, and thus drive out other insects.

(Photo credit: Dr. G. Curt Fiedler)

Impact on Humans & Pets

Little Fire Ants pose a significant health harming hazard for humans, plants, and animals as they use their ovipositer to deliver a harmful STING capable of inflicting blindness in mammals and anaphylactic shock in humans. LFA do NOT bite. For those who are allergic to an LFA sting, hospitalization will be required. Harvesting crops may also be difficult to accomplish because of potentially coming into contact with LFA infested trees and plants.

Anaphylactic Shock

Some individuals may suffer from anaphylactic shock following LFA stings.

(Photo Credit: Hawaii Ant Lab)

Affects Children

Children cannot play in yards infested with little fire ants.

(Photo credit: U. Herrera)

Blindness in Pets

There has been a correlation that links blindness in dogs with LFA stings.

Nuisance while Planting

It may be more difficult to garden with LFA present because they can blow onto your body.

(Photo Credit: U. Herrera)

Impacts on the Economy

For an island that relies heavily on tourism, it is imperative that we keep our native ecosystem pristine. Little fire ants are arboreal species that do not cling well to surfaces. Thus, wind can easily blow LFA onto tourists making it an unpleasant experience.

Unpleasant Activities

Tourism will suffer as visitors will not be able to enjoy leisure activities such as visiting beaches or going on hikes without coming into contact and/or experiencing being stung by LFA.

 

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