Little fire ant

The Little Fire Ant may be small but it has a very long scientific name - Wasmannia auropunctata. It is about 1.5 mm with a light to golden brown colour. Its home is Central and South America but it has travelled far to the Pacific islands and now lives in eight of our island countries - French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

Introduced most probably intentionally, as a biological control against nut fall bugs (Amblypelta sp) in coconut and cocoa, the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) has for more than 30 years continued to spread and colonies a number of different environments in the Solomon Islands. To date, no studies have investigated the ecological impact of these ants. The impact of Little Fire Ants was measured on (1) the overall ant fauna within subsistence gardens, (2) the prevalence of additional insect pests in subsistence gardens, and (3) the significant pest Tarophagus sp.

This report contributes to the GEF PAS project "Prevention, eradication and control of invasive alien species in the Pacific islands". It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Department of Environment Protection & Conservation, Vanuatu.