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Putting Out the Fire

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Agriculture, Weights and Measures’ Integrated Pest Control program treated nine locations around the county in an effort to control Red Imported Fire Ants.  Though common in the Southeast, these potentially devastating and painful pests have now been found in five Southern California counties, triggering a statewide internal quarantine.  The insects are medium in size and colored red and black.  They build mounds of soft soil, which, when disturbed prompt the fire ants to emerge and react aggressively, crawling up vertical surfaces, biting and stinging.  Their sting usually leaves a white pustule on the skin.  AWM is working to determine where the ants are located and treating the sites to protect both County residents and our $1.7 billion agricultural industry.  You can find more information on red imported fire ants at http://cisr.ucr.edu/red_imported_fire_ant.html.