- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Industry Division has begun an extensive survey in Brunswick and New Hanover counties for the sweet potato weevil, considered to be the most significant sweet potato pest in the world.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said the survey is being conducted to gain a better understanding of the weevil and its distribution in the two counties. Troxler said North Carolina produces about 50 percent of the total U.S. crop and it needs to be protected.

The coastal areas of southern Brunswick and New Hanover counties are the only places in North Carolina where the weevils are found. To prevent their spread into the state’s sweet potato production areas, the department restricts the movement of regulated commodities such as sweet potato plants..

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