Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Research Scientist and Manger in the Feather Identification Lab Dr. Carla Dove, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Biologists Keel Price and George Graves look over a sample of the birds in the Smithsonian collection on Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. USDA photo by Anson Eaglin.
In March, I enjoyed welcoming home two USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees from 18-week tours of duty in Afghanistan. There they devoted long days using their wildlife expertise to reduce aircraft hazards to American and coalition aircraft at Bagram Airbase and Kandahar Airfield. It was my honor to help recognize them for their service from November 2012 to March 2013. Read more »
Asian longhorned beetle and "egg site." Credit: R. Anson Eaglin, USDA-APHIS
This past March, almost 11 years after being found in New Jersey, federal and state agriculture officials are finally able to say that the state’s long-running battle against the non-native Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is over.
New Jersey is the second state to declare itself free from the invasive tree-killing insect. The beetle was successfully eradicated from Illinois in 2008, and the ALB-regulated area of Islip, New York, also achieved eradication in 2011. So, getting rid of this “hungry pest” is possible. That’s good news, because, depending on where you live, 70 percent of your community’s tree canopy could be lost to ALB. Read more »
Delicious citrus: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service
It’s time to grab those gloves and get outside for some gardening! April is not only a great time to plant citrus trees, but it’s also Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Before wielding that shovel, take a few minutes to learn how to keep your trees healthy and prevent the spread of citrus disease.
Citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), is one of the most severe plant diseases in the world. The disease has devastated millions of citrus trees in the United States and now has the potential to eliminate the citrus industry. Once a tree is infected with the disease, there is no known cure. Read more »
Agricultural items in passenger baggage: R. Anson Eaglin, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Travel is a popular activity for a lot of people. When traveling outside the United States, what you bring back really does matter. We want to protect our country from invasive plant pests and diseases to help keep our agriculture and forests safe.
You don’t want to inadvertently bring a pest or disease back with you. That’s why Customs officials ask you to declare any food, plant items or handicrafts you have with you when you are returning to the U.S. They know what items pose a risk and need to be kept out of the country. Many of those items are things you may not think could possibly cause a problem, but they could cause severe problems here at home—who wants that? Read more »
Mexican fruit flies on citrus fruit: Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
USDA has proclaimed April to be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to consider how invasive species can crawl, swarm or ooze their way into your daily life. The fact is, invasive pests and diseases hunger for many of the same things we enjoy each day. And as they feast on America’s agricultural and natural resources, they can devastate crops and forests, throw ecosystems out of balance and lead to lost jobs and closed export markets. Read more »
Even the weather cooperated on February 23, 2013. With a brilliant blue sky overhead and bright sunlight streaming into the warehouse, the first shipment of pears grown in the United States and destined for the Chinese market arrived in Dalian, China.
The three containers of pears did not slip into the port of Dalian, a city of over six million people located in Liaoning Province in the northeast of China, unnoticed. Instead, a crowd of onlookers consisting of journalists, invited guests, U.S. and Chinese officials, all gathered to witness the first pallets of Red and Green Anjou pears from Ft. Hood, Oregon being offloaded. Read more »