USDA Raises Plant Pest and Disease Awareness
April 28, 2017
USDA Website Provides Helpful Tips for Everyone
By Melissa Moe, Associate Editor
April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Pests can vector dangerous diseases. In a state so dense with agriculture, Californians must be aware of the huge dangers that these pests create. We spoke to Edward Verona, the state operations coordinator for the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine, about Hungrypests.com and how Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month will help spread awareness of the dangers of plant pests to the public.
“There are eight helpful tips on Hungrypests.com. The public can learn what they can do to make sure that they're not moving all of these hungry pests, not just from one state to another, but even within California, being that it's such a large state,” Verona said.
California grows half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts that are consumed in the United States. Carrying fresh fruits and vegetables across state lines into California can spread dangerous diseases into previously uncontaminated areas and risks harming this huge supply of crops. Plants bought from nurseries and growers can also be homes for invasive pests.
“Make sure that you do buy plants and seeds from reputable sources, such as established nurseries or online businesses. You definitely don't want to be doing that with fly-by-night dealers. Whether it's in your neighborhood or online, definitely buy from certified sources,” Verona said.
Growers, producers, and consumers alike are all encouraged to visit Hungrypests.com to learn about the threat and what they can do to help. The website is available in English and in Spanish.
“What's important is, only one person moving that orange, that apple, or that little sprig of citrus, can be the one to move the problem, but also, it's everyone and the public that can help by learning what they can do and learning to recognize symptoms of these pests and diseases on hungrypests.com and report,” Verona said.