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Home / Invasive Species Resources

Invasive Species Resources

Provides access to all site resources, with the option to search by species common and scientific names. Resources can be filtered by Subject, Resource Type, Location, or Source.

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USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Along the Rio Grande in Texas, tiny insects are taking a big bite out of an invasive weed that competes for limited water resources vital to agriculture and native vegetation. Several years ago, ARS scientists released two insect species as part of a biocontrol program to kill giant reed (Arundo donax).

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia that kills ash trees. EAB was first detected in North America in 2002. Several tiny wasp species are helping to control EAB.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental impacts of releasing a parasitoid wasp to biologically control the Russian wheat aphid. The Russian wheat aphid is a wingless, pale yellow-green or gray-green insect lightly dusted with white wax powder that feeds and develops on grass and cereal species. The biological control agent is a small, stingless wasp called Aphelinus hordei that can be used to reduce the severity of damage caused by Russian wheat aphids. Based on our assessment and other relevant data, releasing this biological control agent will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on the environmental assessment until June 4, 2020, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register on May 5, 2020. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2020-0009 to comment.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued the final environmental assessment (EA) for releasing Japanese knotweed psyllid (Aphalara itadori) to manage Japanese, giant, and bohemian knotweeds (Fallopia japonica, F. sachalinensis, and their hybrid, F. x bohemica). After careful analysis, APHIS has determined that releasing Japanese knotweed psyllid within the continental United States is not likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Based on this determination, APHIS will not prepare an environmental impact statement and will begin issuing permits for the release of Japanese knotweed psyllid.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) that addresses the environmental impacts of releasing Asian leaf beetle (Lilioceris egena) to manage air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera). After careful analysis APHIS has determined that the release of Asian leaf beetle within the continental United States will likely not have a significant impact on the environment. Air potato is a twining vine that can reach lengths of more than 65 feet and is capable of climbing and out-competing native vegetation.

APHIS will review and consider all public input submitted during the 30-day comment period and use the information to complete a final environmental assessment. Members of the public can review and comment on the assessment Jan 8, 2021 by accessing it and supporting documents here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2019-0068. This action will go into effect on Feb. 8, 2021, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

ARS entomologist is developing microbial pesticides for the effective control of mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit.

USDA. FS. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.

See also: Invasive Species Publications for more publications

USDA. FS. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.

FHTET-2008-10. See also: FHAAST Publications for more resources.

USDA. FS. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.

See also: FHAAST Publications for more resources

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

ARS scientists in Nevada, studied ways to control cheatgrass and restore rangelands to a healthy mix of plants, which in turn reduces wildfire threats, supports wildlife, and increases sustainable grazing resources.

United States Department of Agriculture.

Cattle grazing on a nearly half mile wide targeted strip of cheatgrass near Beowawe, Nevada, created a firebreak that helped limit a rangeland fire to just 54 acres this past August compared to rangeland fires that more commonly race across thousands of acres of the Great Basin. This "targeted grazing" firebreak and eight others are part of an evaluation project being managed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), partnering with other federal, state and local agencies and local cattle ranchers in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. These demonstration sites are being studied so the concept's efficacy and environmental impacts can be uniformly evaluated and compared.

Cheatgrass, also known as downy brome, is an invasive annual that dominates more than 100 million acres of the Great Basin in the western U.S. Germinating each winter, cheatgrass grows furiously in spring and dies in early summer, leaving the range carpeted in golden dry tinder. The Great Basin now has the nation's highest wildfire risk, and rangeland fires are outpacing forest fires when it comes to acreage destroyed.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

Rodrigo Krugner, an entomologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Parlier, California, has found an innovative way to control insect pests in California vineyards: tapping into the vibrational signals they use as mating calls.

Krugner’s efforts have mainly focused on glassy-winged sharpshooters, which spread a bacterium that causes Pierce’s disease in vineyards and costs the California grape industry an estimated $104 million a year. Growers use chemical sprays to control the pests, but insecticides also kill beneficial insects, leave residues, and become less effective as the insects develop resistance.

Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

There are two basic approaches to limiting the spread of invasive species: a species-by-species assessment of the risks or benefits of admitting or excluding species, and a policy based on controlling pathways of entry in which vigilance is maintained on incoming ballast tanks, cargo holds, packing materials, and similar vehicles for unwanted organisms. These two approaches may complement each other. Policymakers also may emphasize prevention over post hoc control or vice-versa, or they may adopt a combination of the two approaches. Congressional Research Service Report R44011.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

Hunting for natural enemies of the red imported fire ant is paying off for Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Their latest discovery — a new virus found in fire ants from Argentina — has the potential of becoming a biological control agent against the red imported fire ants infesting the U.S.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

The plot could have come from Hollywood — an insidious alien invader threatens to overrun the land, but intrepid scientists discover a secret weapon in the far-off, exotic land of Nepal and bring the pestilence to heel. But this is not fiction; it's true. The air potato plant (Dioscorea bulbifera) is an exotic vine from Asia that was introduced to Florida about 115 years ago to make medicine. After escaping from the lab, it multiplied and smothered native plant communities in all of Florida's 67 counties. It spread beyond to large swaths of land in the southeastern United States. All attempts to manage the air potato – mechanical, chemical, or physically gathering the bulbils — were unsuccessful; they were either too labor intensive and costly or caused collateral damage to native and endangered species. According to Min Rayamajhi, a plant pathologist at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Invasive Plant Research Laboratory (IPRL) in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the vines return every season, repeating the growth cycle and expanding the invasion at a rate of about 6 inches per day. Rayamajhi and retired ARS scientist Bob Pemberton traveled to Nepal and accidentally discovered the air potato beetle.

USDA. ARS. Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory.
The Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) Leafy Spurge was a $4.5 million, five-year (1998-2002) USDA-ARS research and demonstration program focusing on the Little Missouri drainage in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. Its goal was to research, develop and demonstrate ecologically based Integrated Pest Management strategies that landowners and land managers can use to achieve effective, affordable and sustainable leafy spurge control. Note: The TEAM Leafy Spurge program was named a recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture 2004 Secretary’s Honor Award for exemplary service and achievement.

USDA. Blog.

The National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, within the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services (WS) program, has unleashed detector dogs as a new tool to help stop the spread of feral swine, one of the United States' most destructive and ravenous invasive creatures. This is a new tool, and WS will continue to train the dogs and use them to detect nutria, feral swine, and possibly other invasive species, in the future.

USDA. Blog.

Early in October 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was faced once again with New World screwworm, which had been eradicated from the United States more than three decades ago. Infestation of this flesh-eating parasite was confirmed in deer from the National Key Deer Refuge in the Florida Keys.

 

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) immediately began releasing sterile male flies in Florida’s affected areas as part of an aggressive eradication campaign. By March 2017, the screwworm had been successfully eradicated from Florida.