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Plant Industry - Plant Protection Section

Imported Fire Ant Treatments

Approved Imported Fire Ant (IFA)Treatments for Nursery Stock, Balled or in Containers:

Method F - The Fire Ant Free Nursery Program (Containerized Plants Only)

The Fire Ant Free Nursery Program is designed to keep nurseries free of IFA and provides a basis to certify containerized nursery stock. The program has detection, control, exclusion, and enforcement components that, in combination, provide maximum control of IFA.

Participating regulated establishments must operate under a compliance agreement. Such compliance agreements shall state the specific requirements that a shipper agrees to follow in order to ship nursery stock in accordance with the requirements of the program. Components and requirements of the Fire Ant Free Nursery Program are as follows:

1. Detection - A successful treatment program depends upon early detection of IFA colonies. Nursery owners are required to survey the entire nursery premises visually twice a month for the presence of IFA.

Nurseries participating in this program will also be inspected by Federal or State inspectors at least twice a year. More frequent inspections may be necessary depending upon IFA infestation levels immediately surrounding the nursery, the management's thoroughness in maintaining the premises, and the number of previous detections of IFA's in or near containerized plants. Inspections by Federal and State inspectors should be more frequent just before and during the peak shipping season. Any nursery determined to have IFA colonies must be immediately treated to the extent necessary to eliminate all detectable colonies.

2. Control - Nursery plants that are shipped under this program must originate in a nursery free of the IFA. Nursery owners must implement a treatment program with registered bait and contact insecticides. The premises, including growing and holding areas, must be maintained free of the IFA. As part of this treatment program, all exposed soil surfaces (including sod and mulched areas) on property where plants are grown, potted, stored, handled, loaded, unloaded, or sold must be treated with a broadcast application of bait at least once every 6 months. The first application is more effective when applied early in the spring. An early spring bait application provides control before winged queens are produced or have time to establish new colonies. Follow label directions for use.

When properly used, baits provide 80-90 percent control of IFA colonies. Follow-up treatments with a contact insecticide must be applied to eliminate remaining colonies. Mound drench treatments with a registered formulation of chlorpyrifos or diazinon are approved. Read and follow label directions carefully.

3. Exclusion -

For Plants Grown on the Premises - Treatment of potting media with granular bifenthrin (Talstar) or granular tefluthrin (Fireban), or granular fipronil (Chipco) prior to planting is required. The dosage rate is dependent on the desired certification interval and pesticide used (see Method D). Apply treatment according to label instructions.

For Plants Received From Outside Sources - To prevent the spread of IFA's into a nursery formerly free of the pest by newly introduced, infested plants, all stock received from sources outside the nursery should be

  • Obtained from other IFA-free nurseries that are certified under a compliance agreement; or
  • Drench treatment with bifenthrin upon delivery in accordance with Treatment Method B, and within 180 days be either:
    »Repotted in media treated with an approved granular formulation,
    »Retreated with bifenthrin drench or immersion at 180-day intervals, or

4. Enforcement - The nursery owner shall maintain survey and treatment records. These records shall be made available to State and Federal inspectors upon request. If IFAs are detected in nursery stock during inspection by Federal or State inspectors, issuance of certificates of movement shall be suspended until necessary treatments are applied and the stock and premises are determined to be IFA free. A Federal or State inspector may declare a nursery to be IFA free upon reinspection of the premises. To ensure its effectiveness, this inspection must be conducted no sooner than 30 days after treatment. During this period, certification may be based upon the drench or immersion treatment described in Treatment A-Immersion and Treatment B-Drenching.

Upon notification by the Department of Agriculture in any State of destination that a confirmed IFA infestation was found on a shipment from a nursery considered IFA free, all shipments from that nursery shall be temporarily discontinued. An investigation by Federal or State inspectors will commence immediately to determine the probable source of the problem and to ensure that the problem is resolved. If the problem is an infestation, issuance of certification for movement on the basis of a "fire ant free nursery" will be suspended until treatment and elimination of the infestation are completed. Reinstatement into the program will be granted upon determination that the nursery premises are IFA free and that all provisions of the Federal Fire Ant Quarantine (7CFR 301.81) are being followed.

In cases where the issuance of certificates is suspended through oral notification, the suspension and the reasons for the suspension will be confirmed in writing within 20 days of the oral notification of the suspension. Any person whose issuance of certificates has been suspended may appeal the decision, in writing, within 10 days after receiving the written supension notice. The appeal must state all the facts and reasons that the person wants the APHIS Administrator to consider in deciding the appeal. A hearing may be held to resolve any conflict as to any material fact. Rules of practice for the hearing will be adopted by the Administrator. As soon as practicable, the Administrator will grant or deny the appeal, in writing, stating the reasons for the decision.

Violations of the quarantine shall be investigated by Federal or State inspectors, and appropriate penalties will be assessed to discourage further violations..

This IFA Free Nursery Program is not mandatory for movement of nursery stock. Certification may be granted on the basis of treatments described in Treatment A-Immersion and Treatment B-Drenching. However, certification for movement under the IFA Free Nursery Program will be granted only if all the provisons of this program are followed.

Certification Period - Continuous as long as all provisions of the IFA Free Nursery Program are followed.

Procedure - Apply a single broadcast application of chlorpyrifos with ground equipment or apply two sequential broadcast applications of granular fipronil. Immediately after treatment, apply at least 1.5 inches of water to treated areas.

Use this link to view and/or print a listing of MITIGATIVE MEASURES required to minimize the impact of IFA quarantine treatments on the environment and human health.
Mention of companies or commercial products does not imply recommendation or endorsement by NCDA&CS over others not mentioned. NCDA&CS neither guarantees or warrants the performance of any product mentioned. This information is believed to be correct, but the user of the product is responsible for reading and following the label.



NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division - Plant Protection Section
Plant Pest Administrator - Phillip L. Wilson
Mailing Address: 1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1060
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh NC 27603
Phone: 919) 707-3753 | FAX: (919) 733-1041