May 2018: Big Island beekeepers are being warned to be on the look out for signs of this deadly disease. There is no treatment available, so infected hives must be destroyed. Prevention and early detection are critical! Read more here.
April 2018: The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has released a pest advisory for an invasive beetle attacking cacao and Sago palms on the east side of the Big Island. The beetle, Acalolepta aesthetica, is believed to have been accidentally introduced through imported commodities from the Queensland region of Australia. Beetles in this family, the Cerambycids, are wood-borers and are known to burrow into wooden packing materials. Acalolepta aesthetica is related to the Asian longhorn beetle, infamous for devastating forests in North America with estimated costs for control more than $600 million since the 1990s.
The Australian longhorn beetle appears to have first arrived in Hawaii about a decade ago. The first sample was turned in from the Orchidland area in 2009, but for several years after, there were no reports. However, in 2013, HDOA received 3 more submissions, with a handful of beetles appearing each subsequent year. By 2017, it appeared the beetles had begun to spread, with specimens collected in Hawaiian Acres, Kea’au, and Kurtistown.
Adult beetles will feed on the bark, branches, and leaves of preferred plants, but the real damage is caused by the larvae. The females lay eggs in wood, usually in stressed, dying, or weakened trees. The emerging larvae will tunnel through the tree’s vascular system, creating tunnels that weaken the wood and interrupt the plant’s ability to transport nutrients and water. In one case in Puna, an infested Sago palm became so weak it collapsed under its own weight.
In addition to cacao and Sago palms, A. aesthetica may attack other hardwoods present in Hawaii: breadfruit, candlenut, citrus, gunpowder, and notably, the native Hawaiian lama tree (Diospyros sandwicensis).
There is no known treatment for an infestation of A. aesthetica. Adult beetles appear to be attracted to light at night, where they can be collected. HDOA advises that routine IPM insecticidal applications may deter adult beetles from selected areas; however, research is needed to determine how to address beetle infestation. The best strategy is prevention: be very cautious in moving potential host plant species from the infected area between Kea’au and Pahoa. Trees infested with the larvae should be destroyed.
If you believe you may have the Australian longhorn beetle on your property, or if you discover a specimen outside of the middle-Puna area, pleas call HDOA at (808) 974-4146 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is anticipated from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and we will post that when it is released.
Little fire ants (LFA) continue to threaten Hawaiʻi’s environment, agriculture, human health, and way of life. Are you interested in learning more about LFA and how to manage them on your property? Take that first step by attending one of our upcoming events.
Town Hall events are an opportunity to learn from different agencies that work to tackle LFA and broader invasive species issues. Learn about LFA treatment from the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL) and how to improve the state’s biosecurity from the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) and the Little Fire Ant HUI.
Community Information Sessions are geared towards educating residents about LFA and how to successfully control them on your property. Attendees will learn about LFA biology and behavior, different treatment methods/products, and how neighborhood groups can qualify for a free demo day, which includes a hands-on demonstration of bait mixing and application.
Interested in learning how to control young albizia BEFORE these fast-growing trees become a menace? Want to know more about how to contact absentee landowners or report trees in the ROW? Come to an albizia workshop and learn how to take ACTION on albizia.
If you lived in Puna (or anywhere on the island) through Tropical Storm Iselle, you are likely well aware of the damage and impact these large, weak trees can have on a neighborhood. We are proud to be supporting island communities that are reclaiming their neighborhoods and turning back the tide against albizia one tree at a time.
EVERY 3RD SATURDAY OF THE MONTH: Join us for an information session about albizia! Learn the proper technique for assessing trees for control and how to control them safely and effectively using a minimal amount of herbicide. Learn the steps you can take to report dangerous hazardous trees in your community. 9-10am at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Activity Center, 16th & Maku’u.
Workdays/Albizia Assassin Events: TBA
These events include hands-on with our albizia field crew, handling sharp tools and herbicide. If you plan to participate in the hands-on trainings or workdays, please wear/bring:
- sturdy, closed toe shoes
- long pants
- long sleeved shirt
- water bottle (we provide ice-cold water for refills)
- Optional for comfort: hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellant
We may stumble across LFA (little fire ants) in some areas, so we also recommend bringing a hat and towel or cloth you can use to protect your neck and collar line (ants will fall from the trees when disturbed).
If you would like to bring an information session or training day to YOUR community, please contact us at email@example.com! Have hatchets, will travel!
Little fire ants (LFA) are a severe problem across the Big Island, affecting residents’ abilities to live our daily lives. But you can get these critters under control! With vigilance and commitment, we can work together to stop the spread of little fire ant and reclaim ground against this nuisance. LFA threaten our food security and well-being in Hawai’i, and we hope you’re ready to join us in stopping the ant.
October is Stop-the-Ant month in Hawaii, and we are encouraging all residents to test for little fire ants using a simple survey with peanut butter. Many people believe they do not have fire ants because they have not been stung, but ants can be present for 6 months to a year before you begin to notice them! Only by surveying can you be sure your property is fire ant free.
If you do have fire ants, did you know that it is possible to treat effectively and safely, and ensure that you, your children, and your pets can safely enjoy your home and yard? Check out our Little Fire Ant information page to learn more.
Join us at the Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Howl’ween PetWalks to get more information about little fire ant. Bring in frozen ant samples and have them identified on site to confirm if you have little fire ants!
Sat Oct 21 Hilo Liliuokalani Gardens 7:30 am
Sat Oct 28 Kona King Kamehameha Hotel 7:30 am
Community information sessions on little fire ants:
Thurs, Oct 26 @6pm at Kealekehe Elementary School library
Wed, Nov 1 @6pm at Laupahoehoe Community PCS school cafeteria
Come and learn what you need to know to stop the ant!
Attention West side landscapers & gardeners: a training designed just for you is coming to Kona on September 30! Join us to learn about how to find, identify, and treat yards for little fire ants. Get some hands-on experience mixing and applying gel bait, and learn what products are best to use for different landscapes. Learn how to incorporate best practices into your business for preventing the spread of LFA.
HCC Palamanui Campus
73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kailua-Kona
Saturday September 30
Training made possible by the Hawaii Island Landscaping Association, the LFA Hui, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and the Hawaii County Council.
June 12- 14, 2017
The Pilina Program: Connecting teachers with ‘aina-based resources and opportunities to enhance learning and engage students.
The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is partnering with the Hawai’i Environmental Education Alliance (HEEA) and the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) to offer a series of workshops for educators interested in integrating hands-on, experiential, place based environmental education into their classroom lessons. All environmental education themes are standards-based and will be aligned to HCPS III science standards and/or CCSS and NGSS. Teachers will receive training, materials and resources from several distinct curricula, presented by representatives of HEEA and community partners.
This 3-day, 3-credit PDE3 course will bring together teachers, environmental educators, and natural resource professionals. The course materials will focus on lessons appropriate for 4-10, but teachers at all grade levels are welcome to participate, and will learn how to modify lessons to fit to grade level. Standards covered will include science, ELA, math and social studies.
- 3 HIDOE PDE3 Credits
- Connect with a network of community partners: BIISC, Hawaii Project Learning Tree, Imi Pono No Ka ‘Aina, Teaching Change,Division of Forestry and Wildlife – NARS, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, Mokupapapa Discovery Center, PREL
- Gain valuable field experiences
- Model activities
- Receive classroom resources (posters, assessment tools, curricula, etc.)
- Opportunities for field trip funding
- Funding available to purchase classroom supplies to implement lessons
- Build Collaborative Learning Communities
- Receive support for reflection and portfolio development
- Morning snacks and a healthy, locally prepared lunch
East Side Workshop Sessions (must attend all three days to earn credit): Hilo-Pahoa-Volcano
Registration: Register on HSTA website.
Space is limited. #PD181820 . Non-HSTA teachers: please contact Franny Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost: $150. Scholarships available!
Pahala Community Center : Free Community Information Session 6:00-7:30
Little fire ants have been detected in Pahala. Join us for an educational presentation on the threat of LFA, learn about the behavior and habits, and most importantly, find out what you can do to make your property fire-ant free! Attendees can qualify their neighborhood for a FREE treatment demonstration and application with ongoing support. Share with us your experiences and challenges in fighting fire ants. Don’t miss this important community session! Call 933-3340 or email email@example.com for more information.
West Hawaii teachers – join us for a free workshop to help in the effort to track and fight fire ants on the Big Island! Get your students involved in a citizen science project to learn where LFA infestations are on the West side. Connect with free online mapping tools and curricula you can use in your classroom. Learn about little fire ants, their biology, ecology, and history in Hawaii, and take home materials you can use to discuss invasive species and little fire ants with your students.
April 8, Waimea Middle School or May 6 Innovations Charter School in Kona
9am – 12pm (snacks provided)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, school, and grade level to sign up!
No fooling’! We’ve controlled thousands of trees around Lava Tree park, and we’re not done yet. Join us from 9-12 on Saturday, April 1 for our volunteer workday. All levels of albizia control experience are welcome. Work side by side with our crew and the Albizia Assassins from your neighborhood and learn how to safely and effectively control albizia of any size.
In 2014 Tropical Storm Iselle wreaked havoc on the iconic Puna “tree tunnel”. Trees that towered 250′ above the road came crashing down, blocking access and egress from many areas in lower Puna. Territorial-era tree planting records show the trees in this area were planted in the 1930s and 40s- meaning those trees were only 80 years old (or less)! Months later, concerned citizens noticed the albizia beginning to regrow along the road, and asked for help with controlling the threat. In October 2015, BIISC worked with volunteers from the community in this area as a celebration of Puna Resiliency. We committed to controlling the new growth along the highway as well as working to control the large trees which continue to seed the area, and this will be our FOURTH event at the site.
Our volunteer crews are always a great group, and these events are a lot of fun! Learn how to control albizia while working up a sweat, and start your weekend off making a contribution to your community. Last time we controlled 2,840 trees in just 3 hours – what can we accomplish with your help?
Just come prepared in long sleeves, long plants, and sturdy, closed toe shoes. We recommend water bottles and hats – but we provide everything else. Hatchets, hardhats, gloves, and all necessary equipment will be provided.
Earn a free albizia assassin t-shirt to show the world your commitment to a safe and resilient Puna community!