Categories
Articles

Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Despite that most of us slowed down for the pandemic, invasive species didn’t skip a beat! In fact, some of them thrived this past year without human hands to keep them in control. With that in mind, as we re-enter the world, it is more important than ever to do our part in preventing the spread of invasive species.

Now we know that for some of you that may be asking a lot. But, for others, this may be just what you were made for! Whatever your pace there are many ways that you can help control and prevent the spread of invasives. 

This week Plant Sentry™ is going over three types of invasives we look out for and how to prevent their spread!

When it comes to invasive species there are three categories we like to focus on:

  • Invasive Plant Species
  • Invasive Pests
  • Invasive Diseases
  • Preventing each of these invasives from spreading may seem challenging, but we promise that it’s much easier than you think.

    Invasive Plant Species

    When considering new plant varieties for your garden, you may want to try something new. When doing so it is important to know your native species. 

    It can be tough to remember all of the natives for your area. Make a list before shopping at your local nursery! Doing so will make it much easier to identify the species you’ll want to steer clear of.

    When it comes to preventing the spread of invasive plants, it isn’t just what you buy that will make a difference. How you remove invasive plants is just as important!

    Many areas of the United States have volunteer organizations that focus on training and actively removing invasive species. Joining one of these organizations can help you learn how to properly remove invasives.

    These opportunities also give you the chance to engage in your community and learn something new. To find volunteer opportunities visit the USDA website: https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/take-action

    Invasive Pests

    The second kind of invasive that we like to focus on is invasive pests. These buggers keep the USDA APHIS team busy year-round and can cause quite the commotion when mismanaged. 

    Invasive pests tend to require a little more due diligence and focus when it comes to their removal efforts. To be sure you’re following best practices ask your local extension office and regulatory bodies about treatment methods and any removal suggestions. 

    Expert insight is the difference between rolling the rock up the hill or catching it on the downslope.

    Invasive Diseases

    Much like invasive pests, invasive diseases require a little more work and research before they can be removed. When looking to treat an invasive disease you will want to follow a similar practice to that of the invasive pests. 

    Check with your local extension office, local guidelines, and any regulatory agencies that are also fighting the invasive.

    Chances are there is a treatment protocol in place already and you’ll want to take the expert advice into account. If left untreated, an invasive disease can spread unnoticed wreaking havoc anywhere it can spread. 

    Preventing Invasives

    When it comes to invasive species management the best practice is to prevent them as much as possible. This is the only 100% guaranteed way that an invasive species can be prevented.

    While it is easier said than done, there are many ways that you can help stop the spread of invasives.

    1. Don’t move firewood. Buy your firewood locally and close to your camping locations. Many pest larvae are burrowed in contaminated wood that is then spread to different environments when moved. Prevent the spread and buy what’s there, we assure you we’re saving you in the long run. 
    1. Clean your equipment! Whether it’s a boat, your shoes, your pants, your camping equipment, what have you. Clean all items that may have picked up seeds, pests, or spores before entering or leaving an area where the spread may have taken place. 
    1. When in doubt, turn it down! If you’re not sure about whether it is diseased, contains a pest, or is invasive, leave it be and move onto your next option. While it may not always be preventable or noticeable at the time, invasive species have traits that they are known for and can help guide you as to whether or not it may be one.

    If you’d like to learn more about invasive species and ones that may affect your area be sure to stop by the USDA’s list of invasive species to learn more: https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/subject/lists

    Categories
    Articles

    5 Ways You Can Combat Invasive Species

    5 Ways You Can Combat Invasive Species

    Every year since 2010 the National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) takes place to encourage education and participation in efforts against invasive species throughout the U.S. The efforts are split into 2 weeks of the year so that NISAW has the opportunity to educate and practice 2 of the most important parts of battling invasives.

    The first part of NISAW takes place in late February and focuses on legislation and policies surrounding invasive species and their management. During another week in May, the NISAW resumes, focusing on outreach and education efforts. 

    During both weeks of NISAW, local community members and officials put their best foot forward in actions to remove invasive species and educate their communities on them. 

    In keeping up with doing our part, this week (and every day)  Plant Sentry™ will also be focusing on invasive species education and efforts to combat them.

    This leads us to here, in this wonderful blog where we’re going to cover 5 ways for you to combat invasive species in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week!

    1. Preventing the Spread

    When it comes to invasive species experts recognize that one of the best management practices is preventative measures. Too often invasives crowd out native plants and animals placing a strain on the natural resources of their environment.

    A major resource in preventing the spread of invasives has been educating community members on the dos and don’ts of their environment. A top resource and educator in these preventive measures has been the Play Clean Go project [1].

    Play Clean Go is an education program designed to bolster other education efforts in offering tips and tools (literally) to help prevent the spread of invasive species. PlayCleanGo recognizes that people spread invasive species and because of that, they can also help prevent the spread.

     As humans, we’re constantly on the go, and with the dirt and pieces of the environment that we move, so do the invasives with it. 

    We often unknowingly transfer invasive species with our travel and transport of items from one place to another. 

    Here’s How:

    1. The bottom of your shoes! 

    Say you’re up in the mountains hiking, but earlier that same week you were in a field full of invasive species. If you haven’t cleaned your shoes between trips, chances are you just transferred the invasive species to this mountain environment.

    It’s easy to think of the dirt on your shoes as just that, but if you’re tracking serious amounts of mud and dirt, there’s a chance you could be carrying an invasive.

    A great way to combat this type of spread is to clean your shoes between hikes, and every time you leave a different environment. Invasives cause tremendous amounts of damage in North America and it is up to each of us to do what we can to prevent their spread. 

    Does your shoe have hard-to-clean grooves? PlayCleanGo sells easy-to-pack and carry brushes that are perfect for picking mud and dirt out of those hard-to-reach grooves [2]. 

    2. Vehicle Tires!

    Much like the bottoms of your hiking boots, tires are filled with nice little nooks and crannies that are perfect for picking up invasive plant seeds and insects. A great way to help prevent the spread of these nuisances is to avoid taking your vehicle on unpaved roads and into areas where invasives have been sighted. While it can be challenging to resist the urge to go off-roading, doing so can protect your environment from unwanted destruction. 

    If you just can’t help yourself, be sure you clean the tires as well as possible before leaving the infected area.

    3. FIREWOOD!

    This is a big one! Firewood is a leading cause of the spread of invasive species. So much so, that many National and State parks throughout the country will not let you bring your own firewood when camping.

    Many invasive species are able to burrow and hide in cut wood and sustain harsh temperatures. As a result, when the wood is transferred to a new location, the invasives are given a new home and a new opportunity for destruction! 

    When camping or wanting to use firewood, purchase locally! The opportunity to buy firewood is never going to be too far from the opportunity to hike and camp. Pick some up from a local or nearby store and prevent the risk of spreading invasives!

    2. Identifying Invasive Species

    Now that you know a few tips on how to prevent the spread of invasives, you might be wondering what it is these invasives look like. Well, that’s a great wonder!

    The trouble with invasives is that they’re different for every state and every environment. Take Barberry (Berberis sp.) for example. While the majority of the Eastern part of the U.S. identifies it as a state-recognized invasive species, many states west of Indiana do not list it as invasive. 

    Knowing the list of invasives for each of the states you visit should be on your list of things to do if you plan on spending some time outside. [5] If you’re hiking in California, take a look at their invasives lists. If you’re visiting Florida, take a look at their invasives lists.

    Half the trouble with invasive species is that once they’ve arrived it can be challenging to locate each and every one of them roaming around their new environment. Identification and removal is a key effort in fighting invasives when they first arrive, so an extra set of eyes wouldn’t hurt!

    Prepared with a list of what to look for, if an invasive species is spotted you can report it to the necessary agencies that can come and remove it. [3]

    3. Educating Others

    Another part of the challenge in fighting against invasives isn’t just that they compete with native plants and species, but it’s also letting other people know! These newly introduced species often take hold early on in their new environments and community members aren’t given enough information about them. 

    Sometimes this is because we as a newly affected community don’t always know how they’re going to infect our environment, but also, because the word isn’t getting out.

    When it comes to invasive species, always share the information! Tell your friends and family members about them and ask them to report them if they’re sighted.

    Teamwork makes the dream for an invasive free habitat work! When in doubt refer back to the various experts that specialize in invasive species.

    4. Legislative Action

    As with anything that is going to affect your environment, some of the best actions you can take will be from the top of the regulatory food chain, legislation.

    While many of us hate to see it come to legislative action, sometimes strict enforcement of policy is necessary to get everyone on the same page. Laws and regulations that have been passed surrounding alien species are put in place to protect U.S. land and citizens. 

    When it comes to helping fight against invasive species, legislative actions can benefit your environment and make it more manageable for your local resources to beat them!

    5. Kicking Them Out!

    It’s pretty obvious at this point that invasive species just aren’t something that we want around. When it comes to getting rid of them, all the other steps before this will help in finding them, preventing them, and spreading them, but what about actually removing them?

    Throughout the U.S. volunteer efforts are put together so that you can get out and help remove invasive species! 

    There’s a number of different activities that you can participate in to help, but joining a local group or organization to clean up invasive species can make a big difference against invasives. Visit the USDA’s Take Action page for more information on getting involved in the removal of invasive species in your area.[4]

    A Job Well Done

     Every year the battle against these species costs the United States taxpayers millions of dollars in corrective and preventive action. With the tips from this blog, you should feel empowered and able to positively impact your community and their battle against invasive species. 

    Whether your area is fighting the Asian carp, the African snail, the brown tree snake, or the Asian longhorn beetle, there’s a way for you to stop their spread. 

    Throughout the next week and the warmer months to come I hope the tools we’ve given you today will encourage you to reach out in your community and fight invasive species, just like us at Plant Sentry™!



    Citations:

    [1] https://www.playcleango.org/how-do-people-spread-invasive-species

    [2] https://naisma.org/product/playcleango-boot-brushes/

    [3] https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/subject/reporting

    [4] https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/take-action

    [5] https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/us

    Categories
    Articles

    The 5 Most Challenging Invasive Species of 2020

    The 5 Most Challenging Invasive Species of 2020

    (For the Garden Industry)

    For months, I’ve been publishing content hinting at the end of the year. Well, it’s finally arrived, the actual end of the year. So here I am, participating in the annual moment of reflection for perhaps the most controversial and difficult year in recent history. As l look back, all I can think of is how much we’ve overcome. 

    This year was nothing short of a challenge and being here today feelings like nothing shy of a miracle. But, looking back at all of the hard work our industry put in to thrive and stay afloat it’s not surprising that more growers and sellers saw upsides rather than downs.

    With the ever present threat of invasive species, disease, and pests learning from this past year’s challenges will be just what we need to tackle 2021.

    Let’s take a look back at this year’s 5 Most Challenging Invasive Species

    #1. The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire)

    This pest officially became so widespread this past year, that the USDA has ruled to roll back the quarantine efforts of the invasive species.

    This pest officially infests all but 13 states of the contiguous United States of America.

    Despite best efforts to quarantine and control the pest, the spread of the beetle has left many states with no other option but to remove the coveted Ash trees from their lands, and discontinue efforts of regulations. 

    The new USDA approach hopes to reserve funding and efforts currently used for quarantining the Emerald Ash Borer, so that more effective management can be developed and executed. [1]

    #2. Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama or ACP)

    This particular pest is always at the top of our list when it comes to terrible, no good, invasive species. As we’ve discussed in some of our previous blogs, the Asian Citrus Psyllid spreads the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, also known as Citrus Greening, that currently has no cure.

    Citrus Greening is responsible for a 21% decline in the fresh citrus fruit market, as well as a 72% decline in the production of oranges as of 2019. [2] The pest and its disease is currently found in 9 states throughout the contiguous United States, all residing within the citrus belt of the U.S. 

    The ever growing threat of this pest and the disease it carries is the root of the numerous citrus agreements, certifications, and licenses that are necessary for the Green Industry. Maybe in 2021 we’ll finally be able to get rid of this sucker for good!

    #3. Gypsy Moth (Asian & European) 

    Besides being my least favorite invasive pest to look at, this pest sure is a doozy!

     It has many technical names. The Asian Gypsy Moth is scientifically identified as “AGM, including Lymantria dispar asiatica, Lymantria dispar japonica, Lymantria albescens, Lymantria umbrosa, and Lymantria post¬alba[3]. The European Gypsy Moth is scientifically identified as “lobesia botrana or EGVM” [4].

    See? A doozy. 

    But what’s more frustrating about this pest is the way that it invades its host trees and does just enough damage before leaving and making way for more dangerous diseases and pests to kill it off. Some of their trees of choice are Oak trees, Sweet Gum trees, Willow trees, Birch trees, Apple trees, and Boxelder trees. However, there are plenty of other trees they seek. The Asian variety of the gypsy moth eats both evergreen and deciduous tree varieties, while the European variety only targets deciduous trees.

    But as if their damage wasn’t enough, these apparently evolved species of moths also are difficult to prevent and control. Their unique “ballooning” method of transfer that their egg sacs can have, allows for them to be carried by wind instead of just flight. 

    It was estimated back in 2011 that for the 20 years prior this pest had caused $30 million dollars in damages A YEAR! [5].

    #4. Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)

    If you follow us on social media @PlantSentry, or frequent our blogs, you’re probably familiar with this pest!

    This pest has been around since it was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, management efforts against the pest have been challenging to say the least. Part of the difficulty in managing this pest is that their eggs, larvae, and adults easily travel undetected through contaminated material. These materials can include your shoes, firewood, and really anything else they can attach themselves to.

    Educational efforts such as Play Clean Go help provide guidance to many of us who unknowingly transfer this pest in our outdoor activities. 

    This pest favors grape vines, hardwoods, and fruit trees, but will devor just about any plant. The fruit industry has been particularly impacted by this [6]. So far their cost in damages has resulted in a $50 Million dollar decline throughout the state of Pennsylvania. [7]

    Part of this economic decline as a result of the pest has also been 500 jobs lost throughout the state of Pennsylvania. [7]

    #5. Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)

    Ah, finally #5, Kudzu! Now here’s a real handful of an invasive species. This guy has been in the U.S. for years, all the way back to 1876, and was an introduced species originally used to help control erosion. Since its arrival this invasive species has become perhaps the most invasive plant species in the U.S.

    This plant currently inhabits mostly the Southeastern portion of the country but can be found in 30 states throughout the U.S. 13 of the 50 contiguous states currently list this plant as a noxious weed, although it is no longer a federally listed noxious weed. [8]

    With the ability to overgrow even trees in a forest, this plant overcrowds existing vegetation and prevents healthy growth of native species in their regions. It is currently estimated that this plant covers about 20,000 to 30,000 square kilometers of land throughout the U.S. [9]

    Nationwide this invasive species contributes to roughly $500 million dollars lost in cropland and control efforts. [9]

    Looking Forward in 2021

    So there you have it, the 5 most challenging invasive species that we faced in 2020 throughout the Garden Industry.

    It’s difficult to look at this list without concern for the future and wonder what combative steps we might take as an industry against these species. At Plant Sentry™ we ask these same questions and we have these same concerns. This is why as a company we’ve set the standard to provide the best possible guidance not just for ourselves, but for those we serve in resolving the challenges that invasive species bring. 

    Our company, Plant Sentry™, started out as a small idea, but it has turned into a component for much greater change. Throughout our industry companies and clients are showing more interest in working to resolve the challenges and issues that invasive species bring. As we greet the new year of 2021, we’re confident that our community will continue to encourage a brighter future with less invasive species.

    Until then,

    Happy New Year from Plant Sentry™



    Citations:

    [1] https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/emerald-ash-borer/emerald-ash-borer-beetle

    [2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2018.01976/full

    [3] https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/asian-gypsy-moth/asian-gypsy-moth

    [4] https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/hp-egvm/hp-egvm

    [5] https://agr.wa.gov/getmedia/5f85b41e-5a29-4a1b-ba98-4cba7731934e/gm2011factsheet.pdf?oldurl=PlantsInsects/InsectPests/GypsyMoth/ControlEfforts/docs/GM2011FactSheet.pdf

    [6] https://plantsentry.com/2019/03/22/spotted-lanternfly-lycorma-delicatula/

    [7] https://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2020/01/19/Spotted-lanternfly-costing-Pennsylvania-damage-destroy-invasive-hardwoods-industry/stories/202001190037#:~:text=The%20spotted%20lanternfly%2C%20an%20invasive,Penn%20State%20study%20released%20Thursday.

    [8] http://nyis.info/invasive_species/kudzu/

    [9] https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/kudzu.htm#:~:text=In%20all%2C%20kudzu%20infests%2020%2C000,lost%20cropland%20and%20control%20costs.

    Categories
    Articles

    Spotted: Lycorma Delicatula in Maine

    Spotted: Lycorma Delicatula in Maine

    Over the past few weeks in the industry, news outlets have been reporting a new and surprising find in the state of Maine, the Lycorma delicatula. This pest is better known as the Spotted Lanternfly. 

    While the insect is not a fly at all, but rather a plant hopper, it has made its way around the globe through its ability to attach itself and its eggs to trees, pallets, stones, and other materials that are often shipped.

    This pest first arrived in the U.S. to the state of Pennsylvania in 2014 on a shipment from Asia. Since then the insect has also infiltrated several states within the U.S. including Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. While individual findings have also been sighted in Massachusetts and North Carolina, there is no identified establishment of the insect. [2]

    While the pest prefers the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) they are also known to “settle” for about 70 other plant species. These other species include varieties that produce fruit as well as trees that are often used for timber. [1]

    The pests destroy the plants they inhabit by feeding heavily on them and result in the trees oozing sap, leaves curling, and to suffer from dieback (progressive death of the twigs, shoots, and branches of the tree). The damage that the insects cause makes it easier for secondary pests to come in and kill the tree after the lanterfly has significantly weakened them.

    Another way that this pest damages plants is in the sugary substance called ‘honeydew’ that they leave behind while feeding. The residue attracts ants, actual flies, and other insects that feed on the substance.

    The pest is believed to have arrived in the state of Maine through trees from the state of Pennsylvania, as these trees are where the eggs masses have been identified. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has identified that the egg masses were found on the trees, but hatched adult stages of the insect have not been spotted.

    The grown insects are about an inch long with a greyish brown body. They have black spots on their wings, and red underwings. Their egg masses are rectangular with a yellow-brown-grey wax coating on them. The eggs are about an inch long and may be found on any flat surface. 


    They are asking residents of the state to keep their eyes open for sightings of eggs or adult versions of the pest. Any sightings should be reported to [email protected].

    While the state of Maine continues to seek out every nook and cranny for the pests, in other states, scientists are working diligently to identify solutions against them.

    Some states have begun breeding predatory species to combat the pest, while others are looking to treatment solutions. But, ultimately the question is being raised as to if, when, and how these pests may spread and affect more states.

    For treatments, natural resolutions such as Neem oil are effective in discouraging the insects. However, for an abundance of them chemical treatment methods may be more effective. 

    While scientists continue to search for effective solutions, quarantine protocols and thorough inspections are essential to preventing the spread.

    To learn more how we can help protect you from the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly be sure to contact us below!

    Citations:

    [1] https://entomologytoday.org/2019/10/03/invasive-spotted-lanternfly-large-potential-range-united-states-beyond/

    [2] https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/tech/science/environment/invasive-spotted-lanternfly-egg-masses-found-in-maine/97-5d0bae98-382d-456c-9fbb-efb3ceaa1935

    [3] https://www.udel.edu/udaily/2020/august/spotted-lanternfly-invasive-pest/#:~:text=The%20spotted%20lanternfly%20causes%20serious,dollars%20in%20lost%20agricultural%20production.

    [4] https://www.nurserymag.com/article/spotted-lanternfly-egg-masses-discovered-in-maine/

    Categories
    Articles

    Mini-Blog: Invasive Species

    Mini-Blog: Invasive Species

    It seems as if the year 2020 can’t seem to get worse, but every time I turn around, there it is, even worse. For small islands like that of Hawaii, 2020 has been particularly difficult to navigate. In addition to the threat of COVID-19 and the ravaging effects it could have on a small disconnected island such as itself, climate change has made the year even more challenging. 

    Invasive species are increasingly detrimental on small island communities like Hawaii, who have delicate ecosystems that are deeply connected through each organism and their participating contributions to the islands. 

    Due to the rapid increase of climate change, these invasive species are being given more advantageous opportunities to thrive and exist in these spaces.

    In June of 2020, National Geographic Magazine published an article highlighting the different variables that have led to the blooming invasive population of the coqui. The brown tree frog is native to the island of Puerto Rico, where it is cherished and celebrated.

    But on the island of Hawaii, this frog is responsible for the decimation of entire species of insects, birds, and plants. Hawaii has developed in such an isolated and delicate manner with unique properties that are a result of the distance between themselves and the mainlands. 

    As a result, when invasive species infiltrate quiet and isolated environments the impacts on the native species are devastating and tremendous. 

    But, Hawaii isn’t the only state whose National Forests have been struggling as a result of invasive species. Nearly every National Forest in the United States has been facing a challenging reality of depleted and changed ecosystems as a direct result of invasive species. 

    It is estimated that more than 6,500 foreign species exist within the United States. To resolve this issue, the United States Department of Agriculture spends around $2.5 Billion dollars annually to combat invasive species.  

    Despite the enormous bill that the U.S. Department of Agriculture foots annually to fight against invasive species, it isn’t enough. National Park workers need more than money to combat these species. They need your help! 

    When you’re out in nature and see an invasive species be sure to report it, and if you know the local capturing and eradication procedures, do your part to help eliminate the problem. 

    To report an invasive species visit: https://www.eddmaps.org/

    But, that isn’t all you can do. Using and suggesting compliance programs, such as Plant Sentry™, can help growers protect their customers and environments from numerous invasive species.

    Do your part and suggest Plant Sentry™ and report invasive species!



    Citations:

    [1] Photograph courtesy Dr. Steve A. Johnson, & Linkel, P. (2020, June 29). National parks are being overrun by invasive species. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/united-states/national-parks/invasive-species-threaten-native-plants-and-animals-visitors-can-help/