NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: Fire Ant Quarantine Area Expands

The quarantine area for red imported fire ants has expanded and now includes part or all of 77 counties. The quarantine now includes all of Alamance, Burke, Guilford, Jackson and McDowell counties.

  • On January 1, 2021 we will be expanding the quarantine area for the red imported fire ant. It will now include all or part of 77 counties statewide.
  • It seems like we talk about this every year and each year we add a little more to the area under the quarantine.
  • Fire ants are tough customers to deal with. You don’t want to get bit by them if you can help it, they leave bad marks and take days to go away. They are also tough because they seem to move from place to place with great ease.
  • More than likely they get a lift from us to a new location either in sod, plants or on equipment. Which is why we use the quarantine to try to slow the spread of this harmful pest.
  • The new expansion area for the quarantine now includes all of Alamance, Burke, Guilford, Jackson and McDowell counties.
  • Under quarantine rules, residents and business owners in these counties will need to obtain a permit before moving plants, sod, wood 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 1-800-206-9333. Again, that is 1-800-206-9333.
  • Specifically, items requiring a permit include nursery stock, sod, soil, hay and straw, logs or pulpwood with soil, and soil-moving equipment. 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 also prohibited.
  • We share this information with people and businesses because the failure to obtain the needed inspections and certifications could result in the issuance of a stop-sale notice and rejection or destruction of the regulated article.
  • As I mentioned before, fire ants bites are very painful to humans, but they can also be harmful to livestock and wildlife, too. It was recognized as an aggressive pest of farmlands, pastures, residential areas and wildlife.
  • The imported fire ant was first identified in Brunswick County in 1957.
  • I urge everyone to do their part by not moving these types of materials without a proper