Hungry Pests Threaten U.S. Agriculture
Don’t give hungry pests a free ride.
(NAPSI)—Imagine not having real maple syrup with your pancakes or orange juice to enjoy with breakfast. Or not relaxing under the shade of an ash tree with a glass of California wine. Invasive pests and diseases threaten so many things we hold dear.
If left unchecked, these “hungry pests” can affect many aspects of life—the fabric in clothing, food on the table, lumber used to build homes, flowers in the garden—and have already cost billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. Some can even hurt public health. The giant African snail can carry a parasite known to cause meningitis.
What Are Hungry Pests?
Invasive pests are any damaging insect, animal, plant or plant disease not native to an area. They have few or no natural enemies and can feed on or infect trees and plants in farms, forests, parks and backyards. Typically, people are unintentionally the No. 1 cause of invasive pests being brought into the country or spreading to new areas through the things they move and pack. The good news is that they can also be part of the solution.
What You Can Do
• Buy Local, Burn Local. Invasive pests and larvae can hide and ride long distances in firewood. Don’t give them a free ride—buy firewood where you burn it.
• Plant Carefully. Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.
• Do Not Bring or Mail fresh fruits, vegetables or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.
• Cooperate with any agricultural quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property for pest or disease surveys.
• Keep It Clean. Wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving from one home to another.
• Learn To Identify. If you see signs of an invasive pest or disease, write down or take a picture of what you see and then report it at www.HungryPests.com/News.
• Speak Up. Declare all agricultural items to customs officials when returning from international travel. Call USDA to find out what’s allowed: (301) 851-2046 for plants, (301) 851-3300 for animals.
Help Stop Hungry Pests
Finally, tell your kids, neighbors and friends. The more people who know about invasive pests and the damage they cause, the better chance there is to prevent their spread. To see a growing list of these pests, the trees and crops being affected in the area and what you can do to help, visit www.HungryPests.com/News. You can help protect what you love.