According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, invasive plant pests and diseases cost this nation more than $40 billion annually to control and eradicate.
Florida officials report that inspectors interdict a new invasive species arriving on containers or packages at the state’s airports and shipping terminals every month.
Agency experts also warn that pests and diseases already here in the state can be spread by moving fruits and vegetables, plants, outdoor furniture, grills, wading pools, bicycles and other items routinely exposed to infestations.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has declared April as Invasive Plant and Pest Disease Awareness Month.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service offers a free checklist for household moves with tips to help homeowners take simple steps to prevent transporting these enemies of household gardens as well as farms and ranches.
Invasive species also degrade Florida’s natural resources, including forests, native plant diversity and wildlife habitat.