The Department of Agriculture Tuesday declared April as 2023 Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The outreach effort is dedicated to highlighting the impact of invasive plant pests and diseases on plants nationwide.
The campaign also seeks to inform Americans on how they can help reduce the spread of invasive plant pests. Each year, invasive insects and plant diseases cause an estimated $40 billion in damages to plants, including key agricultural crops. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “This spring, familiarize yourself with the invasive pest quarantines in your area and do your part to avoid inadvertently moving invasive insects and plant diseases to new areas.”
Nonnative plant pests can hitchhike in untreated firewood, attach themselves to cars, boats, and other outdoor surfaces—or take a ride in the mail. They can travel to new areas on agricultural materials such as soil, seeds, homegrown produce, and plants.