REPORT A PEST

What You Can Do

It's up to each of us to leave Hungry Pests behind.

Photo of a large red farm on a clean and open green grass covered hill. Lots of trees are seen in the distance.

When it comes to preventing the spread of invasive pests, every one of us can play a big role. By doing the right things we can all help stop this threat to so much that we value. Please do your part and learn what you can do to leave Hungry Pests behind.

These damaging pests can hitchhike from place to place on our cars and trucks, hidden in fruit, vegetables, plants, firewood or on familiar outdoor items. But we can all learn to be more careful when we're traveling or involved in outdoor activities. Working together, we can protect our crops and trees from harm.

The first step is to be aware of the pests that might be a threat in your area. Then be sure to cooperate with any regulations or quarantines that might be in effect. Finally, take care to be sure that you're never packing a pest. Let's all leave Hungry Pests behind.

Preventing the introduction and establishment of invasive species in a new area is everyone's responsibility. And there are important, simple things that we should all be aware of:

  • Invasive pests can easily be transported on living plants or fresh products such as fruit.
  • Many pests can be found in recently killed plant material including firewood, lumber, and wood packaging material. Avoiding the long-range movement of these materials to help slow the spread of pests.
  • Buy only certified, pest-free nursery whenever possible. Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.

Based on your outdoor activities, outdoor hobbies, or your occupation, there are many specific actions you can also take. See the examples below for more information.

Select the category below for specific information:


International Travelers

Traveling internationally? Be sure you're not bringing home a pest.

It's easier than ever to travel the world. Unfortunately, the same is true for Hungry Pests. Bringing home an exotic fruit or plant may seem innocent, but without knowing it, you may also bring along a dangerous stowaway. Please do your part to help protect our crops and trees.

  • Declare all food, live animals, and plant or animal products to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Custom and Border Protection officer or agriculture specialist at the first port of entry.

  • Research the admissibility of plant and animal products before your trip. You can call USDA at (301) 851-2046 for questions about plants and plant products, and (301) 851-3300 for questions about animals and animal products.

  • For travelers going to Hawaii or Puerto Rico, learn what’s safe to pack and bring to the U.S. mainland.

  • Please keep in mind that certain foods are restricted in order to protect community health, preserve the environment and prevent the introduction of devastating pests and diseases to domestic plants and animals.

  • If you suspect agricultural smuggling, please call USDA's Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit at (800) 877-3835.

Outdoor Enthusiasts

Getting outdoors is great, as long as we all leave Hungry Pests behind.

Hikers, bikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts share a special responsibility. When we get close to nature, it also means that nature can also get close to us. In fact, something unwanted may try to hitch a ride home. It's important to be careful and make sure we're helping take care of the outdoors we love.

  • To avoid spreading seed of invasive plants, learn to recognize non-native plant infestations and avoid passing through them.

  • Clean equipment, boots, animals and gear between trips, or preferably before leaving an infested area. Make sure to remove all seeds and other plant parts.

  • Report any invasive pest sightings to the local land manager or local USDA office.

  • Always use weed-free hay and feed for your animals.

  • Don't move firewood. Buy or use firewood that is close to your campsite.

Hunters

Hunting can inspire a powerful sense of stewardship. Do your part to help prevent the spread of Hungry Pests.

  • Use only native plants for food plots. Native plants provide much better food and cover for wildlife.

  • Clean your boots, hunting gear, truck bed and tires after a hunting trip to make sure you are not spreading seeds, insects, or spores to a new location.

  • Don't move firewood. Buy or use firewood that is close to your campsite.

  • Learn to identify the invasive species in your area.

  • Report any sightings to your county extension agent or local USDA office.

Gardeners

Gardeners know nature's balance. Be careful not to tilt the scales with a Hungry Pest.

A gardener's hand can direct the ebb of life and transform a landscape. And with that ability comes responsibility. Be sure that Hungry Pests aren't part of your design. Keep your eyes open and know the right things to do.

  • Always declare any plant material brought in from travel abroad.

  • Buy your plants from a reputable source. Avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.

  • Remove invasive plants from your garden.

  • Until you are able to rid your garden of invasive plants, be responsible and remember to remove and destroy seed heads before they can spread. Also, don’t share invasives with other gardeners.

  • Talk to other gardeners about invasives and how you plan to help in the fight against them.

  • If you are worried that your garden will lose its luster after removing invasives, talk to your local native plant society or exotic pest plant council. These organizations will be able to suggest suitable native replacements.

  • Report any suspected invasive species to your county extension agent or local USDA office.

  • If you suspect agricultural smuggling, please call USDA's Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance unit at (800) 877-3835.

Bird Watchers

Bird watching is about observation. The same can be true for stopping Hungry Pests.

Bird watching is about patience, keen observation and careful identification. Those are skills that can also help stop the spread of Hungry Pests. Please do your part when outdoors.

  • To avoid spreading seed of invasive plants, learn to recognize infestations and avoid passing through them.

  • Clean equipment, boots and gear between trips or, preferably, before leaving an infested area. Make sure to remove all seeds and other plant parts.

  • Report any invasive sightings to the local land manager or local USDA office.

  • Change the water in bird baths often to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Ranchers and Farmers

Ranchers and farmers know exactly what's at risk. We can't let Hungry Pests win.

America's farm fields and pasture lands are the final battle line in the fight against Hungry Pests. The stakes are high and the responsibility to know the right things to do to help take care of all the great natural and agricultural resources that we have are enormous. Please do your part.

  • Learn to identify the invasive species in your area.

  • Report any sightings to your county extension agent or local USDA office. The sooner invasive species are detected, the easier and cheaper it is to control them.

  • Clean your boots, gear, truck bed, tires and harvesting equipment after working a site to make sure you are not spreading seeds, insects or spores to a new location.

  • Be sure to control invasive plants along fencerows, ditches and other areas adjacent to fields.

  • Always use weed-free hay and feed for your animals.

Loggers and Foresters

Loggers and foresters know our trees are a priceless resource. Help stop the spread of Hungry Pests.

America's forests are a natural resource of profound beauty and value. And each species of tree stands as a special source of jobs, industry and production. Invasive pests, if left unchecked, can interrupt our unique relationship with the bounty of our forests. Please help to stop the spread.

  • Learn to identify the invasive species in your area.

  • Report any sightings to your county extension agent or local USDA office. The sooner invasive species are detected, the easier and cheaper it is to control them.

  • Control invasive species before the start of harvesting activities (this includes raking for pine straw). Invasive plants spread quickly after a disturbance. Reducing populations before disturbing them is the best defense.

  • Clean your boots, gear, truck bed, tires and harvesting equipment after working a site to make sure you are not spreading seeds, insects or spores to a new location

Commercial Producers

Commercial producers are the frontlines in the fight against Hungry Pests. Keep your eyes open and our country safe.

From nurseries to vineyards to honey production, our commercial agricultural and plant producers are closer than most to the comings and goings of the plant and insect world around us. And the responsibility is great to take care to always do the right thing to help stop Hungry Pests.

  • Never bring nursery stock, budwood or bees into the country unless you have a permit from USDA and follow all permit requirements. Doing so could introduce devastating pests and diseases.

  • If you suspect agricultural smuggling, please call USDA's Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit at (800) 877-3835.



Seven Ways To
Leave Hungry Pests Behind



1: Buy Local, Burn Local.

Invasive pests and their larvae can hide and ride long distances in firewood. Don't give them a free ride to start a new infestation. Buy firewood where you burn it.

2: Plant Carefully.

Buy your plants from a reputable source and avoid using invasive plant species at all costs.

3: Don't Bring or Mail.

Don't bring or mail fresh fruits, vegetables or plants into your state or another state unless agricultural inspectors have cleared them beforehand.

4: Cooperate with Quarantines.

Cooperate with any agricultural quarantine restrictions and allow authorized agricultural workers access to your property for pest or disease surveys.

5: Keep It Clean.

Wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips. Clean lawn furniture and other outdoor items when moving when moving from one home to another.

6: Learn to Identify.

If you see signs of an invasive pest or disease, write down or take a picture of what you see and then report it to your state.
Use the state menu below:


7: Speak Up.

Declare all agricultural items to customs officials when returning from international travel. Call USDA to find out what's allowed.
Call (301) 851-2046 for plant questions.
Call (301) 851-3300 for animal questions.
Go to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/travel/ to learn more.