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 »
Look for purple traps like this one during EAB Awareness Week.
This is Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week. Before the Memorial Day holiday and summer travel season begin, we take this time to remind everyone to be careful not to spread the EAB unintentionally.
EAB is one of many “Hungry Pests” that can cause significant damage to our country’s natural resources. Since first being identified in 2002, EAB is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast. Read more »
In the battle to preserve agriculture and the environment, Ben Shrader is Luke Skywalker and invasive species are Darth Vader.
Ben, a young man from central Texas, first became interested in invasive species after reading a newspaper article about plants wreaking havoc on native ecosystems. Also known as “Commander Ben,” he describes it as a “battle in nature, like good versus evil” and decided that he wanted to help the “good guys” win.
In his first of many spars with invasive species, Ben conducted a science fair project on giant reed (Arundo donax), an invasive plant that is damaging riparian ecosystems in his home state of Texas. But Ben didn’t stop there. Combining his love for filmmaking with his passion for science, Ben created a blog entitled “Commander Ben-The Invasive Hunter,” where he records his exploits and posts videos and other content to teach kids about the fight against invasive species. Read more »
Invasive species can spread easily by hitching a ride on birdwatchers’ gear, and are unintentionally transported to new locations.
For a bird watcher like me, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of spotting a rare or elusive bird—or watching any of our feathered friends in their natural habitats. Whether you are a die-hard enthusiast or just take pleasure in seeing birds outside your window, you have a deep appreciation for the outdoors and wildlife. Read more »