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Plant Industry - Plant Protection Section

Moving Living Plant Pests, Noxious Weeds,
Biological Control Organisms, and
Genetically-Engineered Organisms
For Research or Development Purposes

Plant pests include insects, mites, nematodes, other invertebrate animals, disease organisms, and noxious weeds that are injurious to plants and plant products. Biological control organisms (predators, parasites, and disease organisms) may be utilized to adversely impact plant pests but may also affect related non-pests. Individuals may want to obtain these or other types of regulated organisms for research or development purposes. Improper handling may result in the establishment of a new pest that adversely impacts agricultural and natural ecosystems. There can be environmental and economical problems if organisms are moved into an area where they do not naturally occur. Therefore, movement of such organisms into the country, from one state to another, within a given state (if under quarantine), or for release into the environment may be regulated at the state and/or federal level.

Permits are required to assure that an appraisal has been made of the potential impacts associated with the intended use of an organism. The permitting process allows uniform criteria to be used to determine the risk/benefit of moving organisms from one location to another.

A state permit (NCDA&CS PPS-1) is required for movement of:

A federal permit (PPQ Form 526: "Application for Permit to Move Live Plant Pests and Noxious Weeds") is required for movement of:

  • Plant pests of foreign origin
  • Domestic plant pests regulated by Federal quarantines
  • Designated Federal noxious weeds
  • Biological control organisms
  • Any plant pest shipped across state lines
    Further information on downloading and preparing the federal PPQ Form 526 permit application, an overview of the permitting process, standard safeguards of the permit, and other related information may also be found at the USDA-APHIS-PPQ Permit Unit web site.

Requests for further information, permit applications, and completed applications should be directed to one of the following NCDA&CS staff members:

  • Alonso Suazo, PhD - Staff Entomologist. Evaluates insects, snails and related organisms.
    E-mail address:

Mailing address for all: NCDA&CS-Plant Industry Division, 1060 Mail Service Center raleigh NC 27699-1060. Telephone: 919/707-3730 FAX: 919/733-1041.

Genetically-engineered organisms are regulated at the federal level only. At the state level, Danny Turner (E-mail address: is available to answer questions about the process and general requirements. More information is available under Biotechnology Services.