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plant pests

Stop Invasive Pests in Their Tracks with Tips from APHIS and PlayCleanGo this Summer

Summer is here, and it’s time to head outdoors! June is National Camping Month, and it also features National Trails Day, National Recreational Vehicle Day, World Ocean Day, and National Get Outdoors Day. But before you hit the trails or the waterways this summer, take a few precautions to avoid giving invasive pests a free ride to new territories. We have some ideas on how you can help!

Celebrating Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month with Your Children: Activities, Curriculums and Video Links

Looking for nature- or science-based activities or projects for your kids to do at home? You and your school-aged children can join in the important worldwide effort to protect plants from invasive species. Invasive pests can destroy up to 40 percent of crops annually, having a direct impact on the cost and availability of the food you eat every day.

The U.S. Seed Trade Industry Thanks USDA for Helping It Thrive

Seeds for planting represent tremendous value to the U.S. agricultural economy. In 2016, the United States exported $1.67 billion worth of these seeds and imported $997 million worth of them. This month, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recognized USDA’s efforts to make the international movement of seeds safer and more efficient. The association presented its 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program.

Traveling to South Korea for the Olympics? Bring Back Great Memories, Not a Pest or Disease

The Winter Olympics begin shortly in South Korea, bringing us two weeks of incredible athletic performances. While many of us will watch the games from our TVs, computers or phones, some lucky individuals will travel to witness the games in person. And when traveling, people often bring back items as souvenirs or as gifts for those of us at home. If you are traveling to the Olympics (or anywhere outside the country), keep in mind there are rules about agricultural products being brought into the U.S.

USDA Works to Reopen Export Markets for Virginia and South Carolina Logs

When pest detections led China to suspend exports of logs from Virginia and South Carolina last spring, USDA began work to minimize the impact of this trade disruption on one of those states’ most important industries.

We began by negotiating with China to establish science-based standards to allow log exports to resume.  Our work culminated in a visit by Chinese officials to South Carolina and Virginia. The delegation’s visit took them to facilities where state and Federal officials carry out agricultural inspections and treatments, tours of port facilities, and demonstrations of land management practices at forests, nurseries, and logging operations across Virginia and South Carolina.

Spot the Purple Trap for EAB Awareness Week May 20-26

This is Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week.  Before the Memorial Day holiday and summer travel season begin, we take this time to remind everyone to be careful not to spread the EAB unintentionally.

EAB is one of many “Hungry Pests” that can cause significant damage to our country’s natural resources.  Since first being identified in 2002, EAB is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 15 states in the Midwest and Northeast.

Go Purple and Save an Ash Tree

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.

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.