Pest Management

Big-headed Ants (Pheidole megacephala)
Invasive ants are a significant conservation concern and can have far-reaching effects in ecosystems they invade. Limited unpublished observations of this particular ant species attacking nesting seabirds exist, but the frequency of attacks or how they affect seabird growth and survival are unknown.

An eradication program began on July 2, 2014. Two full-island treatments of Amdro were conducted at this rate with the use of blowers, hand-cranks and a walk behind applicator.

Shortly after the big-headed ant control began large numbers of arthropod species, especially beetles were noticed. This resurgence may demonstrate the severity of the Big-headed ants’ impact on the ecosystem.

Monitoring for BHA will continue at an interval of twice per year (once per field season)

• The big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) were widespread on Green Island.
• Ants were regularly observed attacking adult seabirds and chicks.

The scale insects they farm hampered the reintroduction of native plants such as Solanum nelsonii (pōpolo).

Southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus)
Culex quinquefasciatus, the Southern house mosquito, were documented on Kure starting August 22, 2016, and are thought to have blown over from nearby Midway Atoll. Mosquitos are carriers of Avian Pox.

Weekly mosquito surveys are conducted at all open water sources. Pool skimmer nets are dipped 10 times along the periphery of each water source and observations were recorded. Data collection includes the area of water source (sq. ft.), mosquito life-stages and quantity detected, treatment type and quantity applied. Water sources are treated to prevent the establishment of mosquitoes.

Black rat (Rattus rattus)
On August 20, 2016 an individual black rat (Rattus rattus) was documented for the first time in approximately 20 years by Karen Ladd from the USCG remediation team addressing contaminats left by the USCG LORAN station. Traps were quickly deployed and a rat was caught and dispatched on 31 August. The rat was documented during the timeframe of the PCB remediation project and is thought to have been transferred to shore with heavy equipment or cargo related to the project. Rat traps and attractants were immediately prepared and transferred to Kure from Midway aboard the M/V Kahana in response. To ensure other rats were not present DLNR personnel deployed the traps and began monitoring. Since then monitoring has been in place but no further rats have been confirmed.

Stay tuned for more information regarding the PCB remediation and the USCG Soil Remediation Project section.

Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
Periodically, cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) have been documented on Kure most likely originating from nearby Midway Atoll where the species is established and reproducing. Cattle egrets are considered a pest because they prey on the chicks of seabirds and Laysan ducklings. As long as cattle egrets are present on Midway, Kure staff will be prepared to prevent the species from establishing on Kure. The Department of Interior USFWS authorizes the removal of cattle egrets under Migratory Bird Permits: Control order for Introduced Migratory Bird Species in Hawaii. 50 CFR part 21.