FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007
Dr. Lane Kreitlow
(919) 733-6930, ext. 237
Quarantine area for the imported fire ant expanded
RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is expanding a state quarantine for the imported fire ant in a continuing effort to monitor and slow the spread of this pest. With the expansion, the quarantine now includes portions or entire areas of 61 counties.
Effective immediately, the imported fire ant quarantine is revised to include:
Clay County - The entire county.
Cherokee County - The entire county.
Edgecombe County - The entire county
Granville County- The portion of the county south of Interstate 85.
The quarantine expansion means residents and business owners in these areas are required to obtain a permit before moving plants, sod and related equipment into or through non-infested areas.
Items requiring a permit include sod, soil, hay and straw, nursery plant material, logs or pulpwood with soil and soil-moving equipment. Movement of infested materials could result in the establishment and secondary spread of the pest to non-infested areas. Permits to move equipment and materials can be obtained from a local plant protection specialist or by contacting the Plant Protection Section at (800) 206-9333 or (919) 733-6932 in the Raleigh area.
"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 Gene Cross, director of the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division. "It is critical we continue proactive efforts to keep the fire ant from moving into non-regulated areas of the state."
The imported fire ant quarantine is part of the NCDA&CS' ongoing effort to monitor and address the threat posed by this pest. The imported fire ant entered the United States through Alabama in 1918, and was first identified in North Carolina in Brunswick County in 1957. Since its introduction, it has spread north to additional areas in the state. It is recognized as an aggressive pest of farmlands, pastures, residential areas and wildlife.
The quarantine map is available at www.ncagr.com/plantind/plant/entomol/ifamap.htm.