A free webinar on halting the movement of fire ants in hay will be hosted by University of Arkansas (UA) Extension on Aug. 19.

Concerns about fire ants spreading to new areas have increased in recent years. Major droughts have forced livestock producers in many places to ship in hay from fire ant-contaminated regions.

To keep the destructive insects from spreading, quarantine areas have been determined in Arkansas, Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. (See map of quarantine areas.) The small, aggressive ants painfully sting humans and animals and can damage farm equipment.

“Hay producers, trucking companies and hay recipients, especially those who live outside the quarantine area, all need to understand the rules and regulations,”says Kelly Loftin, UA Extension entomologist.

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Current regulations on moving hay from the quarantine area and hay-storage protocols that help minimize contamination will be discussed by Charles Brown, USDA national policy manager.

The webinar will also address what producers should do if they end up with infested hay. “We want to give people sound, research-based solutions,” Loftin says. “This webinar allows us to bring in experts from across the nation. Producers will be able to ask specific questions.”

For more information, including a link to access the webinar, click here.

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