Federal Imported Fire Ant Quarantine

Two species of fire ants (Solenopsis richteri and Solenopsis invicta) were introduced into the United States from South America through the port of Mobile, Alabama, in the early part of the last century. These imported fire ants and their hybrids are spreading through the United States at an alarming rate. Management and control of fire ants in the US costs over $7 billion each year.

The Federal Imported Fire Ant (IFA) Quarantine was passed in 1958 in an effort to slow or prevent the artificial spread of imported fire ants. The state of South Carolina is entirely within the federal fire ant quarantine zone.

Both State and Federal Laws regulate the movement of articles that have the potential to spread IFA. Fire ants are easily transported in soil, nursery stock, hay, sod, used soil-moving equipment, and other products. Regulated articles require a certificate or permit to assure that they are pest-free prior to shipment out of the IFA quarantine area. Certain commodities must be inspected or treated with specific chemicals before shipment. The Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) can advise you on state and federal IFA regulations regarding your product. In addition, DPI requires nurseries and other businesses to have a current IFA compliance agreement in place prior to out-of-state nursery stock movement.

For information on certifying regulated articles contact the Department of Plant Industry at 864-646-2140.