Fire Ant Quarantine Area Expanded
The N.C. Department of Agriculture will expand the state quarantine area for the imported fire ant to include all of Graham, Halifax and Macon counties effective January 1, 2016. With this expansion, seventy-four North Carolina counties are now included in the quarantine area.
NCDA continues efforts to monitor the spread of this pest and address mitigation or 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 local NCDA plant protection specialist, Jim Corbin or by contacting the NCDA 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 imported fire ant 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 by NCDA. The quarantine is intended to slow fire ant movement into non-infested areas of the state.
The imported fire ant is considered to be a nuisance and a health concern to humans, livestock and wildlife due to its painful sting. More information on Imported Fire Ant Quarantine can be found at http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/plant/entomology/IFA.htm or by contacting your local Cooperative Extension Center.