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What's New

USGS Brown Treesnake Research Continues at Guam National Wildlife Refuge (May 22, 2020)
DOI. United States Geological Survey.

On May 14, Director Reilly signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The MOA provides for continuity of operations for the USFWS and the USGS with construction of new office and lab facilities on the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with DOD’s construction of a Marine Corps firing range. "The USGS has a long history of collaborating with the Department of Defense in support of U.S. facilities and force readiness in the INDOPACOM Area of Responsibility. One of our signature efforts ongoing today is a collaboration with DOD, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the local government in minimizing the impacts of the invasive Brown Treesnakes (BTS) and improving BTS controls on military lands on Guam," said Jim Reilly, director of the USGS.

Post Date: May 23, 2020
Species Profile -- Asian Giant Hornet

Asian giant hornet is native to Asia and was first detected in Washington State in 2019. It possibly was introduced through the illegal importation of live specimens for food and medicinal purposes. This hornet is a pest of honey bees that can cause the complete loss of colonies.

Post Date: May 12, 2020
APHIS Accepts Comments on Environmental Assessment for Release of a Parasitoid Wasp to Control Russian Wheat Aphid (May 5, 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.

Post Date: May 12, 2020
After a Blight, the Trees that Survived Need Your Help (Feb 25, 2020)
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.

Post Date: May 04, 2020
New Study Provides Insights for Detecting the Invasive Brown Treesnake (Jan 23, 2020)
DOI. United States Geological Survey.

Researchers from Dickinson College and the U.S. Geological Survey collaborated on field research to understand the ability of human searchers to detect the invasive brown treesnake (BTS) on the island of Guam. Due to their nocturnal and tree-dwelling habits, these snakes are extremely difficult to detect, especially when they are present at low densities in an area. A new study published in the journal Ecosphere helps explain why and provides valuable information on optimizing search methods and search locations that could be valuable if the BTS was accidentally introduced to a snake-free island.

Post Date: May 04, 2020
Washington Scotch Broom Census Set for May (Apr 28, 2020)
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

The Washington Invasive Species Council, state agencies and researchers are calling for a census in May to help determine the location of Scotch broom throughout the state. "We need everyone's help to size up the problem," said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. "Without baseline information about the location and population size, we don’t have enough details to determine solutions. The information from the census will help us set short- and long-term action plans." Yellow flowered, Scotch broom is hard to miss when blooming. It can be found in 30 of Washington's 39 counties (PDF | 282 KB). While known to be spread across the state, specific locations and patch sizes are not well documented, leading to the council's call for a month-long census.

"We're asking people to send us information from their neighborhoods," Bush said. "The information can be transmitted easily to the council by using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/report-a-sighting/. Sightings should include a photograph of the plant that shows enough detail that the plant can be verified by an expert. A description of the size of the patch is also helpful, such as whether the patch is the size of a motorcycle, a car, a school bus or multiple school buses. Photographs also can be shared with the council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #TheGreatScotchBroomCensus and #ScotchBroom2020Census."

Post Date: Apr 30, 2020
USDA Confirms Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 in Geranium Plants in Greenhouse (Apr 21, 2020)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the detection of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (RSr3b2) in a single variety of geranium plants located in a Michigan greenhouse. This particular type of Ralstonia can cause a wilt disease in several important agricultural crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. This is the first confirmed case of RSr3b2 in a U.S. greenhouse since 2004. APHIS has taken immediate action to contain and eradicate the disease from the Michigan facility.

Post Date: Apr 22, 2020
Report Lifts Lid on Australia's International Bug Superhighway (Apr 15, 2020)
Australian Invasive Species Council.

A new report has identified an international 'bug superhighway' capable of carrying a large variety of environmentally destructive overseas insects into Australia. The study, led by Monash University, rated the environmental harm being caused by 100 of the worst overseas insect species and recommends a string of actions to keep them out of Australia. The most dominant group of invasive insects by far are the hymenopteran insects – ants, bees and wasps – making them the world's most environmentally harmful invasive insect species.

"Our report found that environmentally harmful bugs, beetles, ants and moths are most likely to hitch a ride into Australia along an international bug superhighway made up of imported plants, nursery material and the timber trade," said report author Professor Melodie McGeoch from Monash University. The report identifies the international trade in cut flowers and foliage as a high-risk pathway for more than 70 of the species studied. Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said this is the first time Australian and international scientists have comprehensively analysed which invasive insects overseas are doing the most environmental harm and could therefore threaten Australia's natural environment if they breach the nation's borders.

Post Date: Apr 15, 2020
Species Profile -- Brown Spruce Longhorned Beetle

Brown spruce beetle is native to Central Europe and Asia. It has not yet been introduced to the United States but has been established in Nova Scotia, Canada since 1990. It can be spread through the movement of infested wood products. This invasive beetle colonizes and attacks healthy spruce trees.

Post Date: Apr 07, 2020
More Than 50 Invasive Carp Captured on Mississippi River (Mar 13, 2020)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is conducting an immediate response to the capture of 51 invasive carp on the Mississippi River. The invasive carp were caught by two commercial fishing operators near La Crosse and Trempealeau, Wisconsin, during routine spring netting last weekend. In response to this discovery, the DNR is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Wisconsin DNR and commercial fishing operators to conduct large-scale netting, studies of the captured carp and increased monitoring. "The location where these fish were caught is commonly netted because of concentrations of commercially valuable fish," said DNR invasive carp field lead Ben Larson. "This is the largest congregation of invasive carp we've seen this far upstream." Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in Arkansas in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official. More information about invasive carp is available on the Minnesota DNR website.

Post Date: Mar 25, 2020