It's up to each of us to stop hungry pests.

Hungry pests are invasive species that threaten to harm our crops and trees. Left unchecked, they can devastate entire agricultural industries, eliminating jobs, threatening our food supply, and costing billions.

Here's how the USDA is fighting hungry pests:

1. We're helping to fight hungry pests abroad so they don't get here.

To stay ahead of the threat of hungry pests, we're assisting other countries in their pest control efforts and working to stop the pests at the source.

Here are a few of our key efforts:

  • Assisting other countries in their pest and disease survey, control, suppression, and eradication efforts. For example, we're working with Mexico and Guatemala to eradicate the Medfly from Mexico and maintain a barrier against the pest in Guatemala. By halting the Medfly's northern spread there, we protect the United States from a serious agricultural threat while it's still far away.
  • Inspecting certain U.S.-bound exports to ensure they're pest- and disease-free before they depart.
  • Helping other countries develop the capability to export safe agricultural products to the United States.

2. Working at the border, we draw our line in the sand.

It's vital to do an effective job at stopping hungry pests at the gate. Working with other countries, we've established a host of barriers. And we help make sure our border inspections are working.

Here are a few of our border efforts:

  • We're working with other countries to develop science-based standards that we all agree to through the International Plant Protection Convention. For example, thanks to international standards we helped to establish in 2002, wood packaging material that could be carrying tree-killing beetles must now be treated and marked with an official international stamp.
  • We're supporting agricultural inspections at U.S. ports of entry by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • We're working to prevent the entry of smuggled agricultural goods.

3. Across the homeland, we're always on the trail of hungry pests.

When hungry pests slip through, we're committed to hunting them down and putting them in their place. We work with State partners on detection and control, and we help spread the word to make sure everyone is doing their part.

Here are a few of our current efforts:

  • We're conducting surveys across the country for invasive pests each year with our State partners.
  • We're working to detect pests and diseases early and responding rapidly to avoid large-scale agricultural, environmental, and economic losses—and to keep our export markets open.
  • We're informing the public about the risk of invasive species and teaching them how to protect America's natural beauty and agricultural bounty.


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