HAGÅTÑA, Guam—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 percent of the area (70 acres) is currently infested with little fire ants, which have also been found elsewhere in Guam in recent years.
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.
Each year, Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) works in Congress to secure federal funding for invasive species control and other projects important to Guam from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.
The Office of Insular Affairs supports the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the three Freely Associated States in the western Pacific.
“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.” (PR)