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News from Around JRM

Additional Treatments Required for Little Fire Ants Eradication at NBG

18 March 2022

From Valerie Maigue , U.S. Naval Base Guam

NAVAL BASE GUAM (March 18, 2022) – Personnel from Colorado State University’s Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML) continues Little Fire Ant (LFA) eradication efforts at Dadi Beach onboard U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG).
NAVAL BASE GUAM (March 18, 2022) – Personnel from Colorado State University’s Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML) continues Little Fire Ant (LFA) eradication efforts at Dadi Beach onboard U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG).
After completing eight full treatments for LFA in January, post-treatment monitoring resulted in positive LFA detections, requiring the supplemental treatment efforts.

“(CEMML) has recommended that there should be at least two consecutive treatment applications with no post treatment monitoring detections of LFA before easing restrictions to Dadi Beach,” said Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas (NAVFACMAR) Regional Biosecurity Program Manager Stephen Mosher.

The first of the supplemental LFA treatments took place in February, with the next treatment scheduled for early April. A reopening for the beach has yet to be determined. Beach updates will be posted on the NBG Facebook page.

In April 2020, the LFA infestation was discovered and prompted the closure of Dadi Beach. The closure was critical to maintaining the safety of personnel and beach patrons from LFA-inflicted injuries, preventing impacts to nesting sea turtle habitat, and preventing further spread of LFA throughout the installation and island ecosystems.

“Since the overall treatment and monitoring areas was (more than) 19 acres, we need to make sure we identify and keep the treatment going to ensure we can get to eradication and not prematurely curtail treatment until we have better certainty,” Mosher said.

After eradication treatments are completed CEMML intends to monitor the areas every six weeks for half a year, and then every six months for two years, to prevent any further spread of LFA.

“Because Dadi Beach is used for recreational purposes, operational training purposes, and is a sea turtle nesting area – we want to increase the frequency in which we monitor so that we’re not waiting six months to a year before we realize LFA are in the area,” Mosher said.

According to the Entomological Society of America, LFA also known as Wasmannia auropunctata are on the list of the top 100 most harmful invasive species worldwide and is considered the greatest invasive ant threat to the Pacific region.
Those who encounter LFA, may feel a very painful sting, which can cause an extremely itchy rash. Additionally, since they can live in trees, LFA have the potential to drop on people when the wind is strong or when people brush against plants while walking through the jungle.

Individuals can also unknowingly place their personal items in the middle of an LFA nest and not be aware because they are so tiny and can be hard to detect with the naked eye.

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