Protect Nature from Invasive ‘Hungry Pests’ with USDA’s Six Tips

Outdoor Enthusiasts Can Help Keep Invasive Species from Spreading

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#HungryPests–Now that summer’s here, increased outdoor activity comes with a greater
risk of spreading 19 invasive species called Hungry
. USDA-APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) has
six simple tips for outdoor enthusiasts to follow this summer, which
will help keep these destructive pests from spreading.

“We realize people don’t intentionally spread Hungry Pests,” said
Suzanne Bond, assistant director, Public Affairs, USDA-APHIS. “But
unfortunately, it’s possible to accidentally spread these non-native
plant diseases, insects and other pests in the things people move and
pack. These pests devastate trees and plants that beautify our parks and
forests, as well as damage crops. Not only are ecosystems disrupted, but
the cost to our nation from invasive pests is great – about $120 billion
each year. Fortunately, it’s not hard to help prevent their spread.”

Outdoor enthusiasts can help protect the environment by following a few
simple tips:

  • For those living in the northeast quadrant of our country, look for
    insect egg masses that are frequently attached to outdoor items, such
    as furniture you bring on your camping trip. Even items stored in your
    garage could hide them. They could be the destructive gypsy moth,
    which eats more than 300 species of trees and shrubs. Carefully remove
    and immerse gypsy moth egg masses in soapy water
    . And report
    findings to federal or state agricultural officials, since early
    detection is key to controlling these pests.
  • Before leaving for and returning from a camping trip out of your local
    area, remove any dirt, which may carry insects and their eggs, from
    cars and recreational vehicles (RVs) to help prevent transporting
    invasive pests. Be especially attentive to clean debris from tires
    and wheel wells
    . Also, clean tires on mountain or other bikes you
    may use.
  • Likewise, clean dirt from shoes, boots, backpacks and other gear
    before leaving your local area to hike or enjoy time in nature.
  • Although it may be tempting, don’t bring back flowers, plants,
    or other natural souvenirs discovered in the wild, as they
    could have invasive pests attached to them. Leave nature in nature.
  • Planning to enjoy an outdoor campfire? Don’t move firewood.
    This is the easiest way to spread invasive species, such as the Asian
    longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer, which can be hidden inside.
  • Buy firewood where you plan to burn it. Only use wood that
    already has been responsibly harvested near the place you plan to burn
    it. Or buy and use wood that has been heat-treated or certified as
    safe to use. Many national and regional parks no longer allow people
    to bring in firewood from the outside. By doing so, not only could you
    face a hefty fine, but you could bring in pests that destroy the
    beautiful wild spaces you love.

To learn about other ways to protect outdoor spaces from invasive pests,
or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. The website includes
photos and descriptions of the 19 Hungry Pests, an online tracker of
federal quarantines by state, and phone numbers to report signs of
invasive pests.


The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is a multifaceted federal
agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting
U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms,
administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage
management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of
USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural
resources and related issues. To learn more about APHIS, visit


Abbey Powell, 301-851-4054
Renee Tilton, 410-626-0805