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April 10, 2013
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

April is National Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) urges residents to help stop the threat that invasive plant pests pose to the state’s agricultural and natural resources.

“While the term ‘invasive plants, pests and diseases’ may not be familiar to every Virginian, the effects of their presence in our state should be of concern to everyone,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “These organisms, such as the Gypsy Moth, Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorn Beetle, Imported Fire Ants and Thousand Cankers Disease, wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops and close foreign markets to U.S. products from infested areas. They cost industry and governments millions of dollars to control.”

Due to increased globalization and international travel, invasive pests often arrive in the country on cargo ships or with returning travelers. Once the invasive pests are here, they can grow and spread rapidly, often because they have no natural predators in this country.

There are several easy steps that people can take to help reduce the spread of invasive pests and plants:

The sooner invasive species are detected, the easier and cheaper it is to control them. If you suspect you have an invasive pest in your area, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Service agent, USDA-APHIS and click on “Report a pest or disease,” or VDACS by calling 804.786.3515. 

VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter@VaAgriculture or like us on

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