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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. Blog.

Humans adores trees. But humans also migrate and trade, habits that led to the accidental introduction of insects and diseases that harm trees and alter the landscape. Examples are easy to find and may be outside your front door: American elms that once dotted streets across America succumbed to Dutch elm disease. Now all colors of ash species – black, green, white, pumpkin, and blue – are threatened by emerald ash borer. The already uncommon butternut tree, also known as white walnut, faces the possibility of extinction from a mysterious attacker. Many invasive insects and fungi come from regions where native trees have evolved to resist their attacks. When these species enter the United States, they find trees that lack this resistance. There's no immediate end to this dismal pipeline, but there is hope on the horizon.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is rolling out Tellus, its new online communications platform, replacing its legacy AgResearch online magazine. ARS is committed to sharing the stories of its scientists and their successes and looks forward to informing and entertaining viewers about the many ways ARS’ revolutionary research impacts the growing world.

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. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
USDA's Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) continuously takes steps to enhance our ability to exclude, control, and eradicate pests and increase the safety of agricultural trade. Across the country, PPQ worked with the States and other partners to detect, contain, and when possible, eradicate invading pests. On the world stage, PPQ worked closely with our international trading partners to develop and promote science-based standards, helping to create a safe, fair, and predictable agricultural trade system that minimizes the spread of invasive plant pests and diseases. Learn about the many successes and accomplishments captured in the 2018 report (APHIS 81-05-021) and how PPQ is working every day to keep U.S. agriculture healthy and profitable.

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 effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.

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 (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking feedback on its proposed list of pests and diseases of concern that are likely to pose a high risk to U.S. agricultural and natural resources.

Section 12203 of the 2018 Farm Bill requires pest- and disease-planning activities that mirror the extensive planning efforts APHIS already performs. Specifically, it requires APHIS to develop a uniform list of pests and diseases that represent the gravest threat to the United States and to develop comprehensive response plans to ensure Federal and State governments are prepared to respond to them.

See Animal and Plant Diseases and Pests of Concern for more information. The agency will review comments from the public about the list, including suggestions of pests or diseases that should be added or removed. In providing comments, individuals should keep in mind that the Farm Bill definition of a pest or disease of concern limits this list to those that are “likely to pose a significant risk to the food and agricultural critical infrastructure sector” and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible pests or diseases. Comments may be submitted to APHISPestDiseaseList@usda.gov.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Dogs specially trained by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have proven to be the most efficient way to detect huanglongbing—also known as citrus greening—according to a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, the only solid hope of curtailing the spread of citrus greening is to eliminate trees with the disease as quickly as possible to prevent further spread. Early detection of the citrus greening pathogen is crucial because trees can be infected and act as a source to spread the disease months or years before showing symptoms that are detectable by the naked eye. ARS plant epidemiologist Timothy R. Gottwald with the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, discovered that dogs can be trained to sniff out the presence of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the bacteria that causes citrus greening, with greater than 99 percent accuracy.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species that destroy fruit crops, trees and plants by hopping from plant to plant, crop to crop, and tree to tree. Although native to regions in China, India, and Vietnam, it was first detected in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then, Pennsylvania vineyards have seen considerable damage in high infestation areas and the Mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia have also suffered from its presence. Insecticides are effective at killing the insect on grapevines, but they are expensive and of limited use because of constant re-infestation from the Spotted Lanternfly dispersing from wild hosts to surrounding vineyards. So, U.S. Department of Agriculture Scientists Dr. Tracy Leskey and Dr. Laura Nixon of the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia, initiated research on the invasive pest to see if they could develop sustainable pest management strategies and use the insect's dispersal patterns for other prolific specialty crop pests.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist in the Pacific Northwest has joined the hunt for the infamous Asian giant hornet (AGH) — a threat to honey bees in its native territory that could also endanger honey bees in the United States if it becomes established here. AGH is also a health concern for people with bee or wasp allergies. At roughly 2 inches in length, this invasive species from Southeast Asia is the world's largest hornet. It has distinctive markings: a large orange or yellow head and black-and-orange stripes across its body. While the hornet's sting delivers a potent venom that can cause severe reactions—and in some cases, death—in some people who are allergic to bee stings, attacks against humans are rare. AGH earned its bad reputation from the way it hunts down honey bees and other insects, primarily during the late summer months when it seeks protein to feed its young.

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

Forests are complex ecosystems. They are constantly changing as a result of tree growth, variations in weather and climate, and disturbances from fire, pathogens, and other stressors. The USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program tracks these ongoing changes — every year, across the nation — as a forest health check up. The 2018 FHM report is the only national summary of forest health undertaken on an annual basis. It contains short- and long-term forest health assessments for the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The report is available as a General Technical Report. Individual chapters can be downloaded, and the full series of FHM annual reports is also available. Users can search reports and chapters by year or topic. Highlights and additional resources are also included.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

A unique program run by the Agricultural Research Service in Fort Pierce, FL, uses specially trained dogs to detect citrus greening in orchards. The canine-detection method has an accuracy rate of 99 percent.

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

White-nose syndrome has been spreading through U.S. bat populations since 2006 and has caused mass die-offs in various regions of the country. The syndrome is caused by Pd (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), a fungus that invades the skin of bats while they hibernate. USDA Forest Service wildlife biologists Roger Perry and Phillip Jordan conducted a study to calculate the survival rates of tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) in the Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas. The research helps satisfy the need for robust estimates of population data amid the WNS outbreak. The scientists chose to study the tricolored bat because it is common across North America and has suffered substantial declines due to WNS. The research highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting small hibernation sites as they may be critical to the conservation of the tricolored bat species.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

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

DOI. USGS. ScienceBase Catalog.
USGS has published, and plans to update on a bimonthly basis into the foreseeable future, a dataset called "Catalog of U.S. Federal Early Detection/Rapid Response Invasive Species Databases and Tools." The catalog, developed in collaboration with the National Invasive Species Council Secretariat, is a multi-sheet spreadsheet that contains openly available, online, federally supported databases and tools dealing with various aspects of a potential national early detection and rapid response invasive species framework.

DHS. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists have already intercepted a dozen significant and potentially destructive pests this year at various ports of entry in Florida as part of the agency's all-encompassing efforts to safeguard American agriculture.

Unknown pests pose a significant risk in agriculture due to a lack of knowledge in controlling the pests and the extent of damage they can cause to crops. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologists recently classified eight pests discovered by CBP agriculture specialists in Florida as first-in-the-nation interceptions and another pest as a new species.

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 the Interior.

Pursuant to the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Act), the Department of the Interior (Interior) is developing an Interior-wide invasive species strategic plan. The Act became law on March 12, 2019. Title VII Section 7001 of the Act directs relevant Secretaries to take actions concerning invasive species. This includes the development of a strategic plan (Plan) in coordination with affected eligible States, political subdivisions of eligible States, in consultation with federally recognized Indian tribes, and in accordance with the priorities of Governors of eligible States.

60-day Public Comment Period -- Written comments must be submitted online (via Regulations.gov) or by mail by 11:59 p.m. Eastern, October 9, 2020.

For more information, see the Federal Register notice -- Draft Invasive Species Strategic Plan; Tribal and Alaska Native Corporation Consultations, Public Listening Sessions and Request for Public Comments (8/13/20)

USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

Electronic noses are sensitive to a vast suite of volatile organic compounds that every living organism emits. A new USDA Forest Service study shows that e-noses can detect emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) larvae lurking under the bark – an early, noninvasive detection method. "The results were quite spectacular," says Dan Wilson, a research plant pathologist and lead author of the study. The findings were published in the journal Biosensors.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

The 20-year fight against plum pox – a serious agricultural disease capable of devastating stone fruits like peaches, apricots, cherries, and almonds – is finally over, thanks to a cooperative effort by the Agricultural Research Service and their partners.