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center for plant health science and technology

Busting Bugs: USDA Creates Online Tools to ID Pests

Do you work at a port or international border where identifying potentially destructive agricultural pests is part of your job? Are you a student or teacher interested in learning more about potential and existing agricultural pests? Have you ever seen a creepy crawly thing in your backyard and wondered if it might be an invasive species? If you fit any of these descriptions, then ID Tools may be just what you need.

Created by USDA-APHIS’ Identification Technology Program (ITP), ID Tools helps agency staff to quickly identify pests, including insects, diseases, harmful weeds, and more, through an efficient, online database system. ID Tools currently includes more than 30 websites covering a vast array of pests and pests associated with specific commodities. These tools help to keep international cargo—and economic activity—moving as efficiently as possible at U.S. ports of entry. However, ITP’s ID Tools web site, which receives about 12,000 visitors a month, is not for experts alone.

USDA Grasshopper Warrior Wins Prestigious Award for Life's Work

Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets of the West beware: R. Nelson Foster, of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is roaming the rangelands looking for you, and when he finds you, he’ll stop your feeding frenzy right in its tracks.

Foster serves as Assistant Laboratory Director at APHIS’ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology in Phoenix, Arizona. For over forty years, he has worked in the lab and in the field conducting groundbreaking research mainly on grasshoppers and similar insects such as Mormon crickets.

Tribes Lead Cultural Preservation Threatened by Invasive Species

The emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) is responsible for the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees across 15 States.  It has had a devastating effect wherever ash trees grow.  Whether the ash is used by industry; shading homes and urban streets, or an integral part of our forest ecosystem, its decline due to EAB is being felt by everyone.  Perhaps one of the hardest hit by this pest are Native American tribes of the Northeastern United States for whom brown ash is rooted deep in their culture, providing spiritual and economic support to their communities.