Increased neighbor interaction and fear of social sanctions: associations with resident action to control the invasive little fire ant.
Motivating and sustaining community action to combat invasive species is crucial for reducing the impacts of invasive species on private lands. However, much is still unknown about how organizations seeking to promote natural resource conservation can effectively inspire, support, and help maintain community action over time. To address this gap, we explored factors associated with resident engagement in control of the invasive little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in Hawaii, with a focus on the role of neighborhood social capital (i.e. norms, reciprocity, and relations) in affecting action. Based on data derived from a survey of 246 residents and regression models, we found that increased neighbor interaction, fear of social sanctions from neighbors, and several psychosocial variables were associated with resident action to control the little fire ant. We suggest that organizations seeking to motivate resident engagement in invasive species control may benefit from building social norms and enhancing neighborhood interaction.