National park continues efforts against little fire ants; Steam Vents parking lot to close temporarily

  • JANICE WEI/National Park Service photo A National Park Service staff member treats invasive little fire ants in a densely vegetated section of Steam Vents in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The Steam Vents parking lot in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed 8 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Dec. 18, for little fire ant treatment.

Only the Steam Vents parking lot and the trail from the parking lot to Wahinekapu (Steaming Bluff) will be closed; Wahinekapu and Crater Rim Trail will remain open. If it rains, a backup date is scheduled for the same time Thursday, Dec. 19.

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Little fire ant detections have decreased by at least 99% at Steam Vents since the park began treating the area in February. In 2018, little fire ants were abundant and readily observed on vegetation and along the edge of the parking lot. In September, park pest control workers found the invasive insects on just 0.1% of bait stations.

Pest control workers will treat Steam Vents every 4-6 weeks. The park will announce the temporary closures in news releases, on the park website at www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes and via social media. The goal is to completely exterminate the ants from the area. Visitors can help by checking their gear and vehicles for little fire ants before coming to the park.

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This will be the eighth treatment cycle at Steam Vents.

For more information about little fire ants, how to control them and how to prevent spreading them, visit www.littlefireants.com.

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