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Fire ant quarantine expands further into Virginia

A recent survey claimed that imported fire ant populations were widespread in Hampton Roads.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced on Thursday that the Virginia's Imported Fire Ant Quarantine has been expanded.

Areas not included in the quarantine include Brunswick, Greensville, Isle of Wight, Mecklenburg and Southampton and the independent cities of Emporia and Franklin.  

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said this measure was necessary after data from a survey that imported fire ant populations were widespread in those locations.

The imported fire ant is not native to the United States, and it's known for its aggressive behavior and ferocious sting. 

Once they make a home, the imported fire ant has the potential to spread to uninfested areas, either through natural means or through the movement of infested articles (artificial spread).

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Under the terms of the quarantine, articles that are capable of transporting the imported fire ant (regulated articles) are prohibited from moving out of the quarantined area unless certified as free of imported fire ant.

Regulated articles include, but are not limited to:

  • Any life stage of imported fire ant
  • Soil, except soil shipped in original containers after commercial preparation
  • Plants with roots with soil attached and rhizomes with soil attached
  • Grass sod
  • Used soil-moving equipment unless free of all non-compacted soil
  • Used farm equipment, unless free of all non-compacted soil
  • Hay and straw stored in direct contact with the ground
  • Honey bee hives stored in direct contact with the ground
  • Logs and pulpwood with soil attached

Individuals who plan to move regulated articles out of the quarantined area should contact VDACS’ Office of Plant Industry Services to determine options for certifying regulated articles as free of imported fire ants.

With the recent expansion, the quarantine now includes all of the following locations:

  • Brunswick
  • Greensville
  • Isle of Wight
  • James City
  • Mecklenburg
  • Southampton
  • York
  • Chesapeake
  • Emporia
  • Franklin
  • Hampton
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Poquoson
  • Portsmouth
  • Suffolk
  • Virginia Beach
  • Williamsburg

For more information, click here.