Earth Day is a global movement empowering people to create real change in the world to help our environment and natural resources. I recently visited two Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) laboratories to see the actions they are taking to stop invasive insects and protect crops and trees.
At the Forest Pest Methods Laboratory in Massachusetts I held an Asian longhorned beetle and saw European grapevine moths, spotted lantern flies, and other invasive insects. But what is fascinating is the different tools APHIS has developed to control these harmful invaders. The Lab produces management tools that are used worldwide; everything from developing surveying strategies using quantitative risk analysis, detection technologies like lures and traps developed by studying chemical and behavioral ecology, providing infestation insights through molecular techniques, developing treatment methods to manage infestations and protect agricultural imports and exports, and using biological control by rearing insects that attack invasive pests.
I also visited the Emerald Ash Borer Biocontrol Production Facility in Michigan, where tiny stingless wasps are raised to battle invasive emerald ash borers. Since the start of the biocontrol program, APHIS and its partners have released more than 8.5 million wasps in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Our goal is to help maintain ash trees as part of the North American landscape for generations to come.
APHIS’ mission to safeguard our Earth’s trees means that every day is Earth Day at APHIS, as we ensure trees and forests will continue to be healthy and viable!