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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.

USDAARS. Agricultural Research Magazine.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are tracking a honey bee killer, and their investigations have taken them from hives in Tucson, Arizona, to Bismarck, North Dakota. Led by ARS entomologist Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, the team is staking out hive entrances and monitoring the comings and goings of foraging honey bees, which may be the killer's unwitting accomplices. None of the busy little winged bearers of pollen and nectar will get by without inspection: The prime suspect—an eight-legged, pinhead-sized parasite called the Varroa mite—seems to be sneaking into the hives on the bees' bodies. The Varroa mite, Varroa destructor, is considered public enemy number one to honey bees nationwide. The parasite feeds on the blood of adult bees and their brood, weakening them and endangering the entire hive when infestations become severe. But the mite also poses an indirect threat to more than 90 flowering crops that depend on bee pollination, including almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, and cantaloupes.

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. 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.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) announced their plans for combatting the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in Charleston County, South Carolina. In June, APHIS and DPI confirmed the beetle is infesting trees in the county. The eradication strategy in South Carolina will be like those used for other ALB infestations in the United States. It includes establishing a quarantine, removing infested trees, and potentially using, with the landowner’s permission, a combination of tree removal and chemical treatment for trees that are within a half-mile radius of an infested tree.

If you live in the regulated area (PDF | 576 KB), please help by allowing officials access to your property to inspect and remove trees. If you live in Charleston County or nearby counties, please look for ALB and examine your trees for any damage that may be caused by the beetle, such as dime-sized exit holes in tree trunks and branches. Please take pictures and, if possible, capture suspicious insects in a durable container and freeze them, which helps to preserve the insect for identification. ALB is not harmful to people or pets. Report the insect or tree damage by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

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. ARS. Agricultural Research Magazine.
May/Jun 2012 - Vol. 60, No. 5

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Research by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Maryland released today sheds new light -- and reverses decades of scientific dogma -- regarding a honey bee pest (Varroa destructor) that is considered the greatest single driver of the global honey bee colony losses. Managed honey bee colonies add at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture each year through increased yields and superior quality harvests. The microscopy images are part of a major study showing that the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) feeds on the honey bee’s fat body tissue (an organ similar to the human liver) rather than on its “blood,” (or hemolymph). This discovery holds broad implications for controlling the pest in honey bee colonies.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have identified a new way to detect the presence of live African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) that minimizes the need for samples from live animals and provides easier access to veterinary labs that need to diagnose the virus. "We have identified a cell-line that can be used to isolate and detect the presence of the live virus," said ARS Scientist Dr. Douglas Gladue. "This is a critical breakthrough and a tremendous step for African Swine Fever Virus diagnostics."

This research, which is highlighted in this month's issue of Viruses, was funded through an interagency agreement with the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A provisional patent application for this research was filed in April 2020 and the technology is now available for license. ARS scientists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, N.Y. will continue to perform research and work towards finding tools to control the spread of ASFV in the nation.

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

New clues to how the bacteria associated with citrus greening infect the only insect that carries them could lead to a way to block the microbes' spread from tree to tree, according to a study in Infection and Immunity by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) scientists.

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. Agricultural Research Service.