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Combatting invasive pests - a call to awareness

Combatting invasive pests - a call to awareness

By Scout Nelson

Invasive species pose a significant threat to the US economy, agriculture, and ecosystems, causing $40 billion in annual losses to croplands, grasslands, and forests, and requiring substantial resources for eradication and control efforts.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring highlights the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that the spread of plant pests, diseases, and noxious weeds can occur through various means. It only takes one infected plant or piece of firewood to introduce invasive species into new areas, including North Dakota.

To diminish the spread of invasive pests, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) encourages the public to take proactive measures:

  • Purchase plants from reputable sources: Buying plants from local nurseries or garden centers that are licensed and inspected by the NDDA ensures that the plants originate from inspected sources, reducing the risk of introducing invasive species.
  • Use certified firewood: When using firewood, it's crucial to purchase or gather it from local sources near the area where it will be burned. Certified, heat-treated firewood helps prevent the unintentional transportation of invasive pests.
  • Clean outdoor gear: Before moving to a new location, thoroughly clean hiking boots, waders, boats, trailers, and other outdoor gear. This simple action can prevent invasive species from hitching a ride and spreading to new areas.
  • Report sightings: If you suspect the presence of invasive pests or species, report them to the NDDA or your local extension office promptly. Early detection is key to implementing effective control measures and preventing further spread.

By following these guidelines, individuals can play a crucial role in preventing the spread of invasive species, protecting agricultural resources, and preserving natural ecosystems.

The NDDA has partnered with a free firewood finder tool to help users locate and advertise local firewood, promoting responsible firewood usage and minimizing the risk of introducing invasive pests.

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