April Designated as Invasive Plant Pest & Disease Awareness Month

Rebecca Blue, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs explains that April has been designated as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month by USDA:

“We have designated April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The USDA will be taking this opportunity to talk with folks about the threats that pests can pose to agriculture and how the public can help. I think a question we often get is what are these invasive pests? The answer is: they are non-native insects that disease plants, damage crops and trees. These hungry pests can have a big impact on the environment and in some cases impact human health. More than anything, they can cost the US economy billions of dollars.” 

According to Blue, USDA has introduced a new website to help educate the public on pests and how to not carry them into the state:

“In North Carolina we have the gypsy moth which is an issue for the state. Several others not currently in North Carolina but are at risk are Apple Moth, the Emerald Ash Borer and the Giant African snail. The campaign is how to educate the public on how to leave hungry pests behind. Our website www.hungrypests.com was launched to help us to reach everyone with the best information. Residents of North Carolina and other states can use the PEST TRACKER to see the pests that are specific to their state and what you can do to help prevent their movement.” 

Blue outlines several ways that pests can hitchhike into the state, and how to prevent doing so:

“People are the biggest influence when it comes to introducing and spreading hungry pests. Luckily they are also the solution. One easy way to prevent the spread is after outdoor activities and before heading home, be sure to wipe down boots, check your tent for pests and if you create a campfire, make sure you burn the wood where you buy it. By bringing wood from another area you could unknowingly introduce new pests to an environment.”  

Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Rebecca Blue

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