A webinar on Monday, Aug. 19 discussed how to keep fire ants from hitchhiking on hay to areas that do not have fire ants. Dr. Kelly Loftin, an entomologist from the University of Arkansas, hosted the free webinar set for 6 p.m. Central time. A recording of the event is now available.
Loftin says that mass movement of hay into drought stricken areas can have unintended consequences. Fire ant colonies in the hay bales can travel long distances with the hay, allowing fire ants to become established in new areas.
“A fire ant quarantine exists to slow the spread of fire ants,” says Loftin. “Hay producers, trucking companies and hay recipients, especially those who live outside the quarantine area, all need to understand the rules and regulations.”
Dr. Charles Brown, national policy manager with the United States Department of Agriculture, will discuss current regulations involved with moving hay out of the fire ant quarantine area and hay storage protocols that producers can follow to minimize the chances that fire ants get into the hay.
The webinar also addressed what a producer should do upon receiving a load of infested hay.
Loftin explains that this webinar is for hay producers, hay recipients, and Cooperative Extension agents who need answers they can use.
“We want to give people sound, research-based solutions,” he says. “This webinar allows us to bring in experts from across the nation. Producers will be able to ask specific questions and get answers to they need.”
The webinar was sponsored by eXtension and the Imported Fire Ant eXtension Community of Practice.