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Posts tagged: Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month

Escargot? More like Escar-No!

Giant African snails can reach up to 8 inches in length and nearly 5 inches in diameter—about the size of an average adult fist—and can live up to nine years. In a typical year, mated adults lay about 1,200 eggs.

Giant African snails can reach up to 8 inches in length and nearly 5 inches in diameter—about the size of an average adult fist—and can live up to nine years. In a typical year, mated adults lay about 1,200 eggs.

For the past several months, USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  and its partners at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have been fighting to stop the spread of the giant African snail—a nasty invasive pest that threatens Florida’s agricultural sector. Read more »

Go Purple and Save an Ash Tree

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, along with Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, discuss the damage that can be done by emerald ash borer and raise a purple trap for the 2012 EAB survey season.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, along with Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, discuss the damage that can be done by emerald ash borer and raise a purple trap for the 2012 EAB survey season.

The Patuxent Wetlands Park is a lovely setting in Anne Arundel County, Maryland where vibrant tidal wetlands give way to the Patuxent River. It is a place where the community enjoys fishing, boating and nature. It is also the site of one of the 500 purple, prism-shaped traps hanging high in Maryland ash trees this spring and summer. The purple traps help State and Federal officials to uncover signs of the invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle. Read more »

Meet USDA’s Youngest Ally in the Fight against Invasive Species: Ben Shrader, Invasive Hunter

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 »

Celebrating 100 Years of Washington, DC’s Cherry Blossoms

Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Arboretum – Inspection of original shipment of cherry trees in January 1910

Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Arboretum – Inspection of original shipment of cherry trees in January 1910

Since 1912, the beautiful pink and white blossoms of the Tidal Basin’s Japanese cherry trees have been one of our national Capital’s most iconic images. For Washingtonians, cherry blossoms herald the beginning of spring and a reprieve, albeit brief, between frosty winter weather (although this winter, not so much) and the sweaty, swampy conditions of summertime. Tourists flock from around the world to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, snapping photographs and attending events across the city. Yet few people realize that DC’s now ubiquitous cherry trees would never have reached America without a little help from USDA. Read more »

Leave Hungry Pests Behind for Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month

The Asian longhorned beetle is a large, showy beetle that is a voracious consumer of many tree species, such as maples.

The Asian longhorned beetle is a large, showy beetle that is a voracious consumer of many tree species, such as maples.

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. Read more »

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. Read more »