Quarantine Area For Imported Fire Ant In NC Expanding

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is expanding a state quarantine for the imported fire ant to include all of Warren County effective Jan. 1st. With the expansion, the quarantine now includes portions or entire areas of 75 counties including Johnston County.

The quarantine continues efforts to monitor the spread of this pest and address control measures. Under quarantine rules, residents and business owners in these counties will need to obtain a permit before moving plants, sod and related equipment into or through non-infested areas. Certificates can be obtained from a local plant protection specialist or by contacting the Plant Protection Section at 800-206-9333 or 919-707-3730.

Items requiring a permit include nursery stock, sod, soil, hay and straw, logs or pulpwood with soil, and soil-moving equipment. Also, the movement of any other products, items or infested materials that present a risk of spread from established IFA areas to non-infested areas is prohibited.

“Failure to obtain the needed inspections and certifications may result in the issuance of a stop-sale notice and rejection or destruction of the regulated article,” said Phil Wilson, director of the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division.  “We know the imported fire ant can be moved through these restricted products. The pest can be harmful to humans and livestock, and we want to slow its spread into non-infested areas of the state as much as possible.”

The imported fire ant was first identified in Brunswick County in 1957. As it spread and became established, it was recognized as an aggressive pest of farmlands, pastures, residential areas and wildlife, Wilson said. The imported fire ant is considered to be a nuisance and a health concern to humans, livestock and wildlife due to its painful sting.

For a map of the quarantine area, go to the following link: http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/Plant/entomology/documents/ncifaquarantine.pdf