Each April, the US Department of Agriculture amplifies its public outreach about the risks that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America’s crops and forests by celebrating Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (IPPDAM). This month focuses on teaching the public how important these pests can be- and what they can do to help prevent the spread of these pests.
Non-native insects and diseases can seriously harm the economy, environment, and even human health. Invasive pests cost the United States about $40 billion each year in damages and expensive eradication and control efforts. A study done by the USDA estimates that from 2009 to 2019, emerald ash borer alone could cause $11 billion of damage across the impacted range. This month of invasive species education helps highlight pests and diseases that can be transported on firewood- like emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle- as well as many other pests and pathogens that threaten our nations forests.
(Boulder Colorado, Emerald Ash Borer Damage)
The USDA is specifically concerned about 19 “Hungry Pests”, a list of which can be found here along with further, state specific information: USDA APHIS Hungry Pests Page
Many pests emerge in spring which is also a time of year that many people move. Pests are more easily spread around this way, hitching rides on outdoor items such as grills, gardening equipment, wading pools and bicycles or patio furniture, cars, and firewood. For example, federal and state inspectors often find gypsy moth egg masses on outdoor household items and recreational vehicles in non-infested areas. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) is offering a free checklist for household moves that includes suggestions and tips for reducing this risk.
Do your part to prevent the spread of pests and disease by not moving firewood! For state specific regulations please visit our Map and Summary Page: https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/map/
- Governor’s Proclamation Template for Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (2019)
- Community Proclamation Template for Invasive Species Awareness Month (2019)
- US Forest Service: A Day in your Life with Invasive Species
- North Carolina Extension: IPPDAM Month (2019)
- USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture – controlling invasive pests in agriculture.
- USDA’s Invasive Pest and Pathogens Awareness Month Announcement
- Help Stop Pests From Invading Virginia
- Maryland IPPDAM (2013)
- If you are traveling to one of the 10 states that use Firewood Scout, check to see if you can get local wood near your campsite when you arrive!
- USDA Forest Service: Protecting Forest Resources from the Threat Posed by Firewood Movement
- Preventing Firewood Movement Fact Sheet
Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month and the Hungry Pests campaign are outreach programs of USDA APHIS. Don’t Move Firewood is an outreach campaign of the Forest Health Program of The Nature Conservancy. These two outreach efforts and their staff work together, along with PlayCleanGo (an outreach program of NAISMA, the North American Invasive Species Management Association), to coordinate messaging and enhance the quality of outreach nationwide, serving our mutual goals to raise public awareness about the threat invasive insects and pathogens pose to our nation’s forests and agriculture.