Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

The Most Important Partner in the Fight Against Invasive Plant Pests and Diseases

Tiny to the naked eye, the adult Asian citrus psyllid is no bigger than a common gnat and feeds with the posterior of its body raised.  This invasive insect causes serious damage to citrus plants and citrus plant relatives through its feeding activities (photos are by R. Anson Eaglin, NRCS).

Tiny to the naked eye, the adult Asian citrus psyllid is no bigger than a common gnat and feeds with the posterior of its body raised. This invasive insect causes serious damage to citrus plants and citrus plant relatives through its feeding activities (photos are by R. Anson Eaglin, APHIS).

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has declared August as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.  Invasive plant pests and diseases are not just a concern of scientists, farmers or horticulturalists; they concern us all.  Invasive pests and diseases of plants—such as Asian citrus pysllid, European grapevine moth, Mediterranean fruit fly, and sudden oak death—can transform communities, harm our economy, and impact human health.

APHIS works to stop invasive pests and diseases of plants from arriving on our shores, and to address those that gained a foothold in our communities or that threaten agricultural resources, like citrus.  Through safeguarding activities overseas, on the border and across the country, APHIS helps to ensure a diverse natural ecosystem and an abundant and healthy food supply for all Americans.

There have been successes.  Invasive pests now eradicated include the Asian longhorned beetle in Chicago and parts of New Jersey.  Mediterranean fruit fly and Asian Gypsy moth infestations in several states are now eradicated.  But the fight to regulate, contain or eradicate invasive pests continues.  In this effort APHIS works very closely with partners at the federal, state, county and local levels, and at universities, and nongovernmental organizations.

But, the most important partner in protecting agricultural and forested resources from invasive pests and diseases are those most familiar with their communities—individuals like you.  By using available tools, you can join heroes like the Massachusetts homeowner who spied shiny black beetles spotted with white in her maples and searched the Internet for information out of concern for children handling the insects.  That Internet search and subsequent report to agricultural officials led to the detection of a significant Asian longhorned beetle infestation.

Asian longhorned beetle infestations have been eradicated in Chicago, Illinois and northern New Jersey.  This large, showy beetle appears similar to the white spotted sawyer, a native insect, but is a voracious consumer of many tree species, such as maples (photos are by R. Anson Eaglin, NRCS).

Asian longhorned beetle infestations have been eradicated in Chicago, Illinois and northern New Jersey. This large, showy beetle appears similar to the white spotted sawyer, a native insect, but is a voracious consumer of many tree species, such as maples (photos are by R. Anson Eaglin, APHIS).

This month, APHIS will post a series of blog entries here and also share invasive plant pest and disease information through our twitter feed.  Please follow us.  You can also use links and resources on our website to get involved.  Armed with knowledge, you can help.  It is a fight for our communities, our public lands, and for our agricultural resources.

2 Responses to “The Most Important Partner in the Fight Against Invasive Plant Pests and Diseases”

  1. Beatriz Moisset says:

    This is why, when I detected unfamiliar beetle larvae feeding on arrowwoods at Briar Bush Nature Center (Montgomery county, PA) I did some research on it, found that it was the viburnum leaf beetle, new to our area, and wrote two articles about it. http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/viburnum-under-siege.html.

  2. m. park says:

    who do i report mediterranean fruit flies to?

Leave a Reply