April flowers and fresh spring foliage beckon us outside to enjoy a picnic, hike, or gardening project. But we’re not the only ones being beckoned. Invasive pests are also coming out. They’re hungry, and your state is on their menu.
That’s why USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has dedicated April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, when what’s at risk is so vibrant—even as certain invasive pests begin to emerge with the blossoms. Some of the pests we’re targeting include the giant African snail, Mediterranean fruit fly, and sudden oak death disease.
People are the biggest influence in preventing these hitchhikers from coming to new areas. This month, we’re asking Americans to leave hungry pests behind. For example, if you’re going camping, you don’t want to give invasive pests a free ride in your firewood to an uninfested forest. Just buy your firewood where you burn it. If you garden, protect all your hard work from invasive pests by getting your plants from a reputable source and making sure nothing growing in your garden is invasive. Also, avoid bringing or mailing fresh fruits, vegetables, or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.
You can find many more great ways to protect America’s crops, forests, and backyard landscapes at www.HungryPests.com. When you visit the site, you’ll be able to use the interactive Pest Tracker to see what’s happening in your state—the pests that have been detected and those that are the biggest threat. Then learn how to identify invasive pests that might be in your area and how to use the site to report them. We invite you to join in the conversation on invasive pests with the Hungry Pests Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Hopefully this month you’ll see or hear the TV and radio public service announcements, or access them on www.HungryPests.com. You might also see Deputy Under Secretary Rebecca Blue, USDA’s spokesperson on this issue, on a TV or radio interview the morning of Tuesday, April 3. And look out for more APHIS blog posts here on invasive pests all month, as well as tweets.
APHIS and its federal and state partners are dedicated to preventing the entry, establishment, and spread of invasive pests. But they can’t do it alone. Please join the fight, and start by visiting www.HungryPests.com.