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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

$200,000 federal grant targets Santa Rita fire ants

Truly small, but terrible and the conservation area is infested

The Guam Department of Agriculture has been awarded a $200,264 federal grant to fund little fire ant eradication in Santa Rita, nearby a 502-acre coral conservation area. Nearly 15 per cent of the area (70 acres) is currently infested with little fire ants, which have also been found elsewhere on Guam in recent years.

The grant was announced by Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo and will come from the U.S. Interior Department.

Little fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) are a highly invasive species that cause a painful sting and extremely itchy rash. They are a major nuisance for Guam residents and visitors alike, and also suppress the island’s native species and vegetation, leading to erosion that damages coral reefs downstream.

“Little fire ants pose unique challenges to many Guam residents and our environment. This new federal grant money is much needed to eradicate this highly invasive species and prevent erosion from covering our coral reefs downstream,” said Bordallo.

“Now more than ever, GovGuam agencies need federal funding like this recent grant award, so I am working hard to increase federal support for our island. I thank Assistant Secretary Domenech for supporting the Guam Department of Agriculture’s invasive special control efforts.”

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