Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has seen more than swarms of tourists, as officials discovered little fire ants in the popular destination.
The little fire ants found in the Steam Vents area and Mauna Ulu parking lot are the first known spotting in the national park.
“We are concerned for the health and safety of our staff and visitors, and the fragile Hawaiian ecosystems of the park,” said David Benitez, park ecologist. “LFA really depend on humans to move them around. We need everyone to ensure their vehicles and gear are free of ants before coming into the park.”
A press release from the national park service says they are sampling to see how widespread the ants are, in an effort to protect the ecosystem and visitors alike from the invasive species. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been actively monitoring any equipment, material and vehicles brought into the park for little fire ants since 2014. In 2018, they found the invaders on such equipment a dozen times.
The area is still open to visitors and no bites have been reported.