The Chinese quarantine authority issued an urgent circular Thursday calling for quality and quarantine authorities at various levels to take "effective measures" to prevent both the entry and exit of red fire ants across the border.
The State Administration of Quality Supervision and Quarantine of China has required all its branches to set up working groups to handle breaking emergency cases related to red fire ants and has sent investigation and expert teams to guide the localities to implement emergent prevention and control measures.
A series of measures related to the examination of the ants have been further tightened to prevent possible leaks, said the administration.
Production bases for flowers, seedlings, potted landscapes and vegetables in China are top on the list for red fire ants examination, and all items that are likely to hide the ants will be carefully checked before entering China, it said.
On Jan. 17, the Ministry of Agriculture listed red fire ants as detrimental pests, which have been detected in Hong Kong and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.