Red Imported Fire Ant is being transported in donated hay bales - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Red Imported Fire Ant is being transported in donated hay bales

(Source www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov) (Source www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov)

OK (KSWO)- The recent wildland fires in northwest Oklahoma has sparked a generous outpouring of hay donations from around the country. However, many of the bales are unusable due to an invasive species that’s hitching a ride in the hay.

Red imported fire ants (RIFA) are being moved from restricted areas in hay bales that have been stored touching the soil. Fire ants can pose a serious health threat to plants, animals, and humans. 

Since 1930 when the red fire ant was imported into the USA, it has spread to infest more than 260 million acres of land primarily in 11 southeastern states, including all or portions of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has established a quarantine. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) along with Oklahoma State University Extension will be surveying sites for the red imported fire ant where this hay is stored.  ODAFF will hold a public meeting with producers to help educate them about the eradication of fire ants in order to keep the area free of fire ant restrictions.

Information provided by Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

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