Oklahoma will search for red imported fire ant
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.
This will consist of placing RIFA bait tubes when temperatures are between 65°F and 95°F. This is important because if temperatures are too cold or too hot, the fire ants will not be as active.
In about 40 to 45 days when the wildland fire situation has hopefully settled some and when the weather is more appropriate, 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.
As a reminder, stored hay bales not touching the soil are assumed to be free of fire ants.
The red imported fire ant was imported into the USA around the 1930’s and 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.
In Texas, the red imported fire ant is thought to have an estimated economic impact of $1.2 billion annually.
These fire ants are pests of urban, agricultural and wildlife areas and can pose a serious health threat to plants and animals including humans. ■