13 April 2014

April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month

April is only half over so there is still time to participate in Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The Bugwood Blog from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health reported the story in detail.

Here are some highlights - click the link above to read the entire blog entry - great blog!

Each year during April, USDA amplifies its public outreach about the risks that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America's crops and forests—and how the public can prevent their spread.  These non-native, destructive species can seriously harm the economy, environment, or even human health.
“Invasive species threaten the health and profitability of U.S. agriculture and forestry, and the many jobs these sectors support,” said Kevin Shea, Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  “To protect that crucial value, USDA and its partners work hard every day to keep invasive pests and diseases out of the United States and to control those that may slip in.  This April, we’re asking all Americans to be our partners in this critical work.” 
Invasive plant pests and diseases can jeopardize entire industries such as U.S. citrus or hardwood timber.  For just one disease— huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening), in one state, Florida—the losses are alarming: more than $4.5 billion in lost citrus production from the 2006/07 to 2010/11 production seasons.  One invasive pest, the emerald ash borer beetle, has destroyed tens of millions of American ash trees in our forests and communities.  Scientists have estimated the cost of all invasive species to all economic sectors to be approximately $120 billion yearly.
APHIS is asking Americans to visit HungryPests.com to learn what invasive plant pests and diseases are in their state or threaten it.  
Learn the “Seven Ways to Leave Hungry Pests Behind,” such as buying firewood where you burn it, or only moving treated firewood if you must bring it with you.  Such simple actions could save a forest or an entire industry from devastation by invasive species.  Individual citizens play a vital role. This month, be on the lookout for videos, articles and social media buzz on invasive species and how to stop their spread.  Start by joining the conversation on the Hungry Pests Facebook Page.

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