VDACS News Releases
April 6, 2017
Avoid the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species
April is Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month
Contact: Dawn Eischen, 804.786.1904
April is national Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages residents to help reduce the threat that invasive plants and pests pose to the Commonwealth’s agricultural and natural resources.
While the term “invasive plants, pests and diseases” may not be familiar to every Virginian, the effects of invasive species in our state should be of concern to all of us. Once invasive pests become established, they can grow and spread rapidly, often because they have no natural predators in their new environment.
Invasive species such as the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth and imported fire ant wreak havoc on the environment, displacing or destroying native plants and insects, severely damaging crops and causing the closure of foreign markets to those U.S. products that originated in infested areas. Invasive pests cost landowners, industry and the U.S. government millions of dollars to control, so taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.
Virginians can help reduce the spread of invasive pests and plants into the Commonwealth by following these simple steps:
If you suspect you have an invasive pest in your area, contact VDACS’ Office of Plant Industry Services at 804.786.3515, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at 804.226.5262 or your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Service agent at ext.vt.edu/offices.html.
More information on invasive plants, pests and diseases can be found on USDA’s Hungry Pests website at hungrypests.com.
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