The pressure is on to quickly get a handle on the dreaded little fire ant infestation in Waimanalo.
It is on state land. Early indications from the results of yesterday's sampling of ants, are that the infestation may be contained, but officials won’t know the full scope until sometime next week.
"We found it on the edge of this gully and on some trees on the gully and we thought it might be crawling across the trees on the other side and that’s what we are doing now, is assessing just how big it is," said Neil Reimer, state agriculture chief of plant and pest control.
Officials have their hands full dealing with the threat and spread of the ant colony at the same time that three calls about coqui frogs have come in. Two at nurseries in Kaimuki and Kunia, and on a boat in Kahaluu that had come over from the Big Island.
Officials caught only one of two frogs found on the vessel.
"It had jumped and hidden in a crevice. They got it secured and everything but they can’t get it until it's dark when it’s coming out again," said Reimer.
Agriculture officials are being pressed to release more information about the location of the recent finds.
They met with the governor and federal and local agencies Thursday and again with state lawmakers in the afternoon where they defended their ability and plan to tackle the invasive species issue.
The department has agreed to revisit its policies about disclosure in light of the recent finds, as it tries to balance public's need to know and business interests of farms and nurseries.
“I am not sure it is necessary to reveal the name of the business if you are not certain that there is an invasive species there and if you have controlled and eradicated it. I don’t know what the purpose would be at that point," said Rep. Laura Thielen.
Thielen, who represents the Waimanalo area, is a farmer as well.
The pursuit of the pests--the ants, the frogs and others--is of great concern as no one wants to see them get a foothold on Oahu.
Thielen pressed for Thursday's briefing because of calls to quarantine businesses adjacent to where fire ants were found.
Maui has battled fire ant infestations for years.
Maui News is reporting that there are no known locations on the island that have not been disclosed. Ants that were found in Hawaiian tree ferns were tracked to Lowe’s and Home Depot.