Commissioner Steve Troxler: Sweet Potato Weevil Quarantine Issued for SC Counties

Recently a sweet potato weevil quarantine area was established for Berkeley and Jasper counties in South Carolina after weevils were detected there. The quarantine is an effort to protect against the accidental introduction of the weevil into the state. The quarantine restricts the movement of plants, roots and potatoes and containers or other related materials from these counties into North Carolina. North Carolina is the No. 1 producer of sweet potatoes in the country, to the tune of $342 million in farm receipts in 2017.

  • Recently, we established a sweet potato weevil quarantine area in Berkeley and Jasper counties in South Carolina following the detection of sweet potato weevils there.
  • Under the quarantine, movement of sweet potato roots, potatoes and plants including ornamental sweet potato plants, vines and vines or roots of other plants belonging to the morning glory family is restricted or prohibited. The quarantine also covers such items as containers and tops.
  • The sweet potato weevil is highly destructive and are generally considered the most serious threat to the crop, damaging both the plants and tubers.
  • We took this step to protect our sweet potato industry, which is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the country. North Carolina accounts for more than half of the total U.S. production, with farm cash receipts in 2017 of $342 million.
  • We work hard to keep this pest out of our state, including having an extensive trapping program in place to detect it as quickly as possible.
  • Traps are monitored throughout the growing season. Inspectors with our Plant Industry Division also conduct checks of storage and processing facilities, greenhouses and micro propagation sites.
  • Shipping records and other operational information from the farm where the weevils were found will also be reviewed to see where sweet potato products were sent.
  • Growers with questions can contact our Plant Industry Division at 1-800-206-9333.