At The Butterfly Grove, we don't normally like to be downers, but we thought since we were all about bugs, we needed to bring to light a current issue that we are facing here on our Hawaiian Islands. We love bugs, but not when they are popping up where they don't belong. Across Hawaii we are experiencing the spread of the Little Fire Ants. The Butterfly Grove recently took part in a massive effort to test various of our island for the little fire ants.
We've had the tropical fire ants here since about the 1940's, but recently we've had a new invasive species knows as The Little Fire Ant. These guys can be red, yellow or tan, about half the size of the tropical fire ant and have massive colonies. There have been a few cases where the colonies went undetected until there were sudden population explosions and people have had to evacuate their houses. Their stings can cause burning rash like bites all over your body.
So why is it bad?
- The spread of these fire ants is a threat to the tourist industry here in Hawaii, which is really our main source of commerce.
- In Hawaii we have a lot of farming. The spread of these ants affect the farmers. It also affects many of the organic farms here on the islands. If the organic farms are invaded by the fire ants, the only recourse is to spray, which will cause the organic farms to lose their organic status.
- Since they are an invasive species, this means that they can and will cause a competition for resources for our native insects, such as the Kamehameha Butterfly.
- In Florida, the little fire ants have stung the nesting turtles, which could be a huge problem for our turtles here in Hawaii, which are already battling tumors that have popped up in recent history.
- The native sea birds here in Hawaii nest on the ground, making them targets of the little fire ants. Our native birds are already endangered, and these ants could further devastate our native bird population.
If you live on Hawaii, what can you do?
You can personally test your home and nearby areas. It's as simple as putting out peanut butter laden popsicle sticks for about 45 minutes. They like bushes and damp areas. Send in suspicious ants remember, they are tiny - and they can be red, yellow or tan) still on their sticks in a ziplock bag.
Samples can be sent to the following :
- Kauai: 4398A Pua Loke St., Lihue, HI 96766
- Oahu: 1428 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96814
- Maui: 635 Mua St., Kahului, HI 96732
- Molokai: C/O The Nature Conservancy, 23 Pueo Pl., Kaunakakai, HI 96748
- Hawaii Island: Hawaii Ant Lab / HDOA, 16 E. Lanikaula St. Hilo, HI 96720
The Happy Face Spider( Theridion grallator) is endemic (meaning only exists in) to Hawaii, particularly around Maui, Molokai and Lanai. In Hawaiian it is called the nananana makakiʻi (face-patterned spider), and it plays a role in many children’s stories and books around the islands.These cute little guys live on the underside of leaves. It is thought that the coloration pattern is part of a camouflage, but the smile itself is not really a survival mechanism, as it does not seem to have any major predators. There are some organisms, however, that have false eyes and faces as a survival mechanism. For example, the four eye butterfly fish have a false eye just above its tail. Scientists believe that it allows them to a chance of escaping predators. Predators normally go for the head of their prey. The four eye butterfly fish has its real eye concealed by line. This confuses the predator, which then goes for the false eye rather than the head, giving the fish a chance to escape. This is also seen in the Owl butterfly, which has false eyes on its bottom wings.
Come celebrate the amazing bugs with us!
For years the monarch butterfly population has been declining due to habitat destruction. The monarch butterfly feeds mostly on milkweed (here in Hawaii we have a variety called Crown of Thorn), which are getting destroyed. The butterfly population has fallen sharply by 960 million in ten years. The National Fish and Wildlife has pledged 1.2 million into restoring the monarch butterfly population. Money will go into education and habitat restoration.
The Butterfly is a symbol of new beginnings and is a popular way to celebrate a new life together as husband and wife. The dream butterfly themed wedding is simple to create. There are plethora of ways to weave the romantic butterfly theme throughout your dream day wedding. First, pick on the color scheme for your wedding. Some brides and grooms prefer white butterflies to complement their main motif while others choose the color of the butterflies based on the wedding's color scheme.
A theme can created by decorating the wedding with nylon butterflies suspended in the air. Large hanging nylon butterflies would be perfect for suspend from the ceilings. The pews can be decorated with gathered chiffon together with a butterfly tiebacks.
Butterflies can be incorporated into wedding dresses as well. Create a beautiful butterfly veil by fastening a butterfly to the headpiece. Tuck three inch nylon butterflies into the bouquet or wrap the bouquet with a ribbon with a butterfly fastened to it. Sew one onto the garter, add them to the flower girl's basket, and even add a butterfly to the boutonniere.
Butterfly reception ideas are endless. Use mini butterflies around the wedding cake. Tuck five inch nylon ones into the floral centerpiece. Tie the napkins with a ribbon with a butterfly attached for napkin rings. Attach butterflies to the table place card holder. If you are having an outdoor wedding, you can create a seating chart along a line with butterfly pins holding up the charts. Attach mini butterflies with ribbons to your champagne glasses.
Nylon butterflies can be attached to just about any favor. Organza bags with nylon butterflies are quite charming. Butterflies attached to bags, boxes, and even seeds would be unforgettable. Butterfly name place cards and bridal favor boxes add a personal touch for your guests.
There are hundreds of ways to decorate with butterflies at your wedding. They are a symbol for new beginning of life. Why not start your important day with romantic butterflies?
See our Butterfly Wedding Decorations at The Butterfly Grove