The coconut rhinoceros beetle, a new invasive species to Hawaii, can grow up to 2 inches long. Photo Credit: Chris Kishimoto, Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Big, creepy, and horned, the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) loves to feed on—and kill—coconut and other palms, banana plants, and more. This invasive species, detected in Hawaii in December 2013, makes the perfect poster child for USDA’s Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month—a child only its mother could love.
How did it get here? And how can we prevent the spread of damaging, invasive species like this unwanted, oversized beetle? These are great questions to consider as USDA kicks off Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Throughout April, we’re raising public awareness about the threat of invasive species and informing people how to prevent their spread—so we’ll face fewer surprises like the CRB. Read more »
Feral swine are not native to the United States. They are a cross between feral domestic swine introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and the Eurasian boar. (Dana Johnson, USDA-APHIS)
Feral swine have been called the “rototillers” of nature. Their longs snouts and tusks allow them to rip and root their way across America in search of food. Unfortunately, the path they leave behind impacts ranchers, farmers, land managers, conservationists, and suburbanites alike. April, Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, is a great time to learn about this serious threat to both plant and animal health. 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 »
ALB damage featuring tunneling and exit holes on cut trees
Imagining our communities without trees is hard to fathom. Unfortunately, there is an insect that threatens the trees we love – the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). It’s an invasive insect that feeds on certain species of hardwood trees, eventually killing them. Since its discovery in the United States, the beetle has caused tens-of-thousands of trees to be destroyed in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and most recently in Ohio. Read more »