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Home / Invasive Species Resources

Invasive Species Resources

Provides access to all site resources (alphabetically), 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. ARS. Tellus.

ARS scientists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Orient Point, NY, have made two important advancements against African swine fever virus, which causes a lethal disease in pigs.

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.

United States Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today applauded research and protection efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever virus, which has been causing devastating losses to the swine industry across the globe. "USDA agencies are working together to protect U.S. livestock from foreign and emerging animal diseases that could harm our economy and public health," said Secretary Vilsack. "I am proud of the extraordinary research underway at the Agricultural Research Service to develop vaccine candidates to prevent African Swine Fever virus. In addition, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has done tremendous work to establish protection zones to safeguard the entire U.S. swine industry."

African Swine Fever (ASF) was originally detected in 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and is known to cause virulent, deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the original outbreak, ASF has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in various countries in Eastern and Central Europe and throughout Asia. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any U.S. outbreaks.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

See also: Emergency Management - Foot-and-Mouth Disease for more information

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 https://www.regulations.gov/docket/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 accepting comment on an environmental assessment (EA) that addresses the environmental impacts of releasing the insects Bikasha collaris and Gadirtha fusca to biologically control the invasive Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) in the contiguous U.S.

APHIS is making the EA available to the public for review and comment for thirty days starting on Jan 21, 2021. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before Feb 22, 2021 at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/APHIS-2020-0035.

*USDA has re-opened the comment period and will consider comments received by April 23, 2021. To comment, go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket/APHIS-2020-0035.

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 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has deployed a new, high-tech tool to help protect U.S. nursery and specialty crop growers from a disease-causing microbe called Ralstonia solanacearum. APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program is now using molecular diagnostics (MDx) at its plant inspection stations to rapidly detect R. solanacearum on imported geranium (Pelargonium) plant cuttings. PPQ developed this extra level of protection following the detection of R. solanacearum in April 2020, which triggered an emergency response in 44 states involving 650 nurseries. PPQ successfully eradicated R. solancearum from the United States just two months later.

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 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) required under the National Environmental Policy Act for its spotted lanternfly program. The previous EA for the spotted lanternfly program was finalized in June 2020 and included control and monitoring activities in the mid-Atlantic Region, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio.

The spotted lanternfly may occur on a variety of plant species, including tree-of-heaven, grapevine, stone fruits (apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum), and other tree species (apple, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut). If allowed to spread, this pest may be harmful to grape, apple, peach, stone fruit, and logging industries. APHIS is publishing the supplemental EA at https://www.regulations.gov/ and on the APHIS website (PDF | 2.5 MB).

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

APHIS has prepared an environmental assessment for permitting the release of the insect Ganaspis brasiliensis for the biological control of spotted-wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in the continental United States. Based on the environmental assessment (EA) and other relevant data, the agency has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent within the continental United States will not have a significant impact on the environment. The proposed action is intended to reduce the severity of damage to small fruit crops from infestations of spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) in the continental United States. SWD is native to East Asia and was first detected in the United States in California in 2008. It has since established in most fruit-growing regions in North America.

APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. All comments received on or before August 16, 2021 will be considered. To review the environmental assessment and make comments, go to www.regulations.gov.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) to issue permits for the release of the insect Lophodiplosis indentata (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) to biologically control Melaleuca quinquenervia (Myrtaceae) in the continental United States. Based on the environmental assessment and other relevant data, APHIS has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent within the continental United States will not have a significant impact on the environment.

The proposed action is intended to reduce the severity of environmental damage to wetlands from the invasive Melaleuca tree in the continental United States. Melaleuca is native to Australia, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea and was imported into Florida in the late 19th century. It has since established in Florida’s wetlands, dramatically disrupting normal water, fire, disturbance recovery, and nutrient cycles—as well as impacting the amount of light available to other plants. APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. All comments received on or before Jan. 16, 2022 will be considered. To review the environmental assessment and make comments: Go to www.regulations.gov and enter APHIS-2021-0049 in the Search field.

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. APHIS will seek comments on a rolling basis, and there is no deadline for submission.

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.