A temporary quarantine on the movement of articles that could contain fire ants has been issued by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the lower Peninsula and greater Tidewater areas of Southeastern Virginia.
The regulated articles include such items as soil, plants with soil attached, grass sod, used soil moving equipment, used farm equipment, hay, straw, pine straw and any honey bee hives that have been in contact with the ground, logs, pulp wood or stump wood with soil attached and other articles that are capable of transporting fire ants from the area.
Regulated articles that are certified free of imported fire ants can be transported out of the quarantined area.
"We do not expect the fire ant quarantine to have a negative economic impact on the area," said VDACS Commissioner Todd P. Haymore.
"Regulated articles can move without restriction within the quarantine area. With inspection or a compliance agreement, they will be able to move out of the quarantine, as well. Indeed, we will work with the affected communities and businesses to make sure that the quarantine will not deter economic growth in the greater Hampton Roads area while helping to keep an injurious pest that can be quite harmful to humans, pets and agricultural animals from moving to other areas of the state."
For more information about imported fire ants VDACS recommends that you contact your city or county agricultural Extension agent. The state agency also has a website addressing frequently asked questions about fire ants at: www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant&pest/fireant.shtml
USDA-APHIS also has information on imported fire ant at www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/fireants/index.shtml