Imported Fire Ants: An Agricultural Pest and a Human Health Hazard

Imported fire ants were accidentally introduced to the United States. The black imported fire ant was brought to Mobile, AL, in 1918. The red imported fire ant arrived in the 1930s. Since then, they have become established across the South and in parts of California and other Western States. These pests pose serious threats to people, small animals, and agricultural equipment. As these insects spread northward and westward, more people are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for advice about how to manage imported fire ants. This factsheet answers several frequently asked questions.

Poison Ivy: Leaves of three? Let it be!

Those who experience the blisters, swelling, and extreme itching that result from contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac learn to avoid these pesky plants. Although poison oak and poison sumac do grow in Virginia, poison ivy is by far the most common. This publication will help you identify poison ivy, recognize the symptoms of a poison ivy encounter, and control poison ivy around your home.

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in North Carolina

Ticks have long been pests of humans and animals in North Carolina. From the larval to the adult stages, ticks attach to a living host and feed on the host’s blood. In doing so, they may transmit germs that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease, both of which can have serious consequences for humans. This publication will help you identify the several species of ticks found in North Carolina and the diseases they transmit. It also describes ways you can protect yourself from ticks outdoors and control ticks in your home.