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The best way to fight invasive species is to prevent them from occurring! This section provides information about general volunteer opportunities and other ways that the average citizen can help to prevent and control invasive species. You can help by learning what invasive species are in your area and what is being done about them.

Learn more about What You Can Do and How They Spread to help stop them from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Hungry Pests outreach campaign.

See related information:

  • General
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Travelers, Hikers, Campers, Boaters, and Hunters
    • Declare all agricultural items (including food) to customs officials when returning from international travel. Don't "pack a pest" when traveling. Fruits, vegetables, plants, and animals can carry pests. See travel guidelines for more information.
    • See Bringing Food into the U.S. and Travelers bringing food into the U.S. for personal use.
    • Also, refer to Traveler Information and Pre-departure guidelines. Or, call USDA to find out what's allowed:
      • Questions about plants:   (301) 851-2046
      • Questions about animals: (301) 851-3300
    • PlayCleanGo -- Clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles, and other pathways of spread to stop hitchhiking invasive species.
    • Don't Move Firewood -- Purchase your firewood locally to avoid the spread of invasive infestations. To best protect trees, make sure all your firewood is sourced less than 50 miles from where it will be burned or is certified.
    • Clean, Drain & Dry -- Help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species while boating.
    • To protect the landscape and game animals, hunters are asked to clean all mud, seeds and propagating plant parts from boots, vehicles, and equipment before entering the backcountry so that invasive plants from their homes are not accidentally introduced to the backcountry. Everything should again be cleaned before leaving the backcountry.
  • Homeowners
    • Your Move Gypsy Moth Free -- Protect your new neighborhood and surrounding natural areas before you move, inspect your outdoor household items for gypsy moth egg masses and remove them.
    • Use certified "weed-free" forage and gravel, firewood, hay, mulch, and soil.
    • Remove invasive plants from your land and plant native or non-invasive plants in your garden. Learn more -- I am a gardener: why should I care about invasive species and what can gardeners do to help prevent the spread of invasive species?
    • Before you purchase a pet, know what you're getting yourself into and never release pets to the wild -- make the right choice before you buy! If you have a domestic pet or exotic pet you no longer want, please contact your local animal shelter, which has connections to help place the animal with an appropriate home.
      • Habitattitude -- Avoid dumping aquariums (including fish or plants) or live bait into waterways. Promotes and increases consumer awareness and responsible behaviors associated with aquarium and water garden hobbies.
      • Don't Let it Loose -- Abandoned pets released into the wild can become a serious invasive species threat. Releasing a pet is not only cruel to the animal, which will most likely die, it could also lead to great ecological damage should that introduced species find a niche to successfully colonize.
    • Before applying pesticides, make sure you understand: