April is “Invasive Plant, Pest, and Disease Awareness Month”

Invasive species like the Japanese beetle and African honeybee have been damaging local ecosystem since their introduction to the American landscape, and they are certainly not alone in the disastrous effects that invasive species can have to an environment unequipped to handle them. That is why the U.S. Ag Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proclaimed April “Invasive Plant, Pest, and Disease Awareness Month” and is taking steps to teach the public steps they can take to prevent such species from taking hold.

According to APHIS, invasive species most often find their way to their new environs through passenger baggage, Internet-purchases plants and plant products, firewood, and outdoor gear, among other ways, as well. That’s where APHIS comes in. Through their work, they have eradicated said Japanese beetle from Illinois, where it had been wrecking  local vegetation for decades, as well as the boll weevil from the South and the European grapevine moth from California.

However, APHIS stresses that it cannot succeed in its efforts alone. To do that, it needs an informed populace that are aware of the ways that invasive species can be introduced, in order to prevent that from happening. To that effect, the Ag Department has launched www.hungrypests.comwhich includes helpful info and interactive maps in both English and Spanish. Also included in the website are feeds to its Twitter and Facebook pages, so you can keep in touch anytime, anywhere.

Have a good day everybody, and check your luggage for strange beetles.