A geographic area established to prevent the spread of a new pest, weed, or plant disease. Regulated items can only leave the quarantine area after being treated or handled in a manner which prevents the movement of the pest, and must be accompanied by documentation of the treatment (see circular 11 below for regulations). Quarantined items can move freely within the quarantine area.

Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

EAB is an exotic Asian beetle, first discovered in the United States in 2002, in  Michigan. The adult beetles are emerald green (pictured at right), while larvae  are white-to-cream colored. These beetles feed on and destroy ash trees.  Evidence of EAB damage has been discovered in Arkansas, as of early summer of  2014. Officials suspect the EAB has a one-year life cycle in the Arkansas  climate. It is suspected that human transportation of the beetle (through  movement of firewood and/or ash items through industry-related transport) is  quickest way for it to travel, state-to-state.

Due to the expanded range of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation sites within Arkansas, the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s State Plant Board (ASPB) has approved a statewide quarantine for ash items as of March 27, 2018. Regulated articles can be moved within the state, but cannot move outside of the state without complying with the federal EAB regulations.

Quarantined items continue to include firewood of all hardwood  species, and the following ash items: nursery stock; green lumber with bark  attached; other material living, dead, cut or fallen including logs, pulpwood,  stumps, roots, branches, mulch and composted/un-composted chips (1 inch or  greater). Firewood is the only quarantined item that relates to all hardwood;  all other quarantined items are relative to ash, only. Quarantined items can  move freely within the quarantined area. The restrictions only apply to the  movement of items listed within the quarantined counties to areas outside of  them. 

Trapping for EAB in Arkansas was first initiated in 2010 by the ASPB, the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), and University of Arkansas at Monticello. EAB was first detected in six counties (Hot Spring, Clark, Dallas, Nevada, Ouachita, and Columbia) in 2014. A quarantine was then enacted for those counties and a buffer zone in the surrounding counties.

Since then, EAB was detected in 18 counties, including: Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Drew, Dallas, Garland, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Lafayette, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Randolph, Union, Cleveland, and Saline.

To help battle the infestation of EAB, many state departments of agriculture including Arkansas are releasing biological control agents/ parasitoids. The parasitoids were produced and supplied from the USDA APHIS PPQ EAB Parasitoids Rearing Facility in Brighton, MI. For parasitoid information please call 866-322-4512.

Contact the Arkansas State Plant Board for full quarantine details  at: 501-225-1598 or eab@aspb.ar.gov.  

Imported Fire Ant Quarantine

Since their arrival from South America in the 1930’s, imported fire ants (IFA) have been steadily marching northward. Fire ants have a powerful sting and can harm people and animals, and can cause damage to electrical equipment. Like many other exotic invasive species, they can quickly exploit their new environment and replace native ant populations. The ants have wings during their reproductive phase and can fly up to a few miles, depending on the winds. However, they are usually spread through artificial means by movement of infested articles, including potted plants, ball and burlap plants, grass sod, hay, straw, pine straw, soil and mulch.

Most of the Southeastern United States including the southern half of Arkansas is under a quarantine for movement of IFA regulated materials. Consult the IFA map (below) for the areas under the quarantine and Circular 11 (above) for regulations. Whenever plants (with soil), grass sod, hay, straw, mulch, or dirt-moving equipment leave the quarantine area they must be free of fire ants. The quarantine applies to the following:

  • Nurseries in the quarantine area shipping plants with soil outside the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers and nurseries picking up plants in the quarantine area and bringing them outside of the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers and nurseries within the quarantine area that are moving plants from the quarantine area for landscaping jobs outside of the quarantine area.
  • Grass sod growers in the quarantine area shipping sod outside the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers bringing sod from the quarantine area to outside the quarantine area.
  • Bailed hay and straw which is shipped from the quarantine area to outside the quarantine area.

USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service – Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) and the Arkansas State Plant Board maintain IFA Compliance Agreements which deal with businesses moving regulated products outside the quarantine. Nurseries, sod farms, landscape contractors, and hay/straw producers that are under a compliance agreement consent to treat their plants with an insecticide labeled for IFA before they ship their plants or sod, or they agree to certify that their business and stock are free of fire ants. The compliance agreement usually has several treatment options and outlines the appropriate chemicals and concentrations to use. Hay and straw producers under a compliance agreement consent to handling and storage of their hay/straw in an approved manner to prevent movement of fire ants in their hay/straw. There is no chemical treatment for fire ants in hay and straw. Products which fall under compliance agreements should have a USDA quarantine stamp on the invoice. This shield-shaped stamp is issued when a business enters a compliance agreement and has a number which is unique to the business.

Any business violating the quarantine, either by violating a compliance agreement, or moving an untreated regulated product outside of the quarantine can be subject to a state or federal fine. Depending on the severity of the violation these fines can reach several thousand dollars.

Contact Paul Shell if you feel that your business needs to be placed under a compliance agreement, or if you want full quarantine details at: 501-225-1598 or paul.shell@aspb.ar.gov

Fire Ants