Oct 31, 2012 8:44 PM by Siera Santos, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Black Forest farmer may have found fire ants in the bales of hay she ordered.
The drought in Colorado has many farmers and ranchers looking to other states to purchase hay. Karen Bueche is one of them.
Bueche spent more than $4,000 on 34 round bales of hay delivered from Texas on Monday. The hay came from an area under quarantine for imported fire ants, which includes most of the southeastern United States.
Although the hay was certified as "fire ant free," she unloaded the bales and made an unpleasant discovery.
"I looked on the deck of the trailer and it was crawling full of ants. There were hundreds of ants," Bueche said on Wednesday.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, imported fire ants "pose a direct danger to many plants, trees and agricultural crops." The USDA began an investigation Wednesday afternoon by luring the ants out of the hay with Spam and then collecting samples for testing.
They could not confirm if the ants are indeed fire ants until laboratory results have returned.
In the meantime, Bueche is left wondering how she will feed her cattle.
"You get attached to your animals and they're also the ones who pay your bills," she said with tears in her eyes.
"I can't move the hay. I can't feed the hay. I can't do anything."
News 5 will continue to follow this story and bring updates on the results of the USDA tests.