USDA: Time for 'Sea Change' in Fighting Pests
Officials release list of top 15 threats
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 1, 2013 9:18 AM CDT
The Asian citrus psyllid.   (AP Photo/University of Florida, Michael Rogers, file)

(Newser) – Pests are causing billions of dollars of agricultural damage—the Asian citrus psyllid alone has cost Florida growers $4.5 billion—and it's time for a "sea change" in how we deal with them. Today, the USDA is releasing its list of the top 15 pest threats, USA Today reports. It's calling for cracking down on small things like bringing outside firewood to campsites or bringing fruit from your backyard to a friend's house, if you live in a quarantined zone. After all, it doesn't take much to spark an infestation: The Asian citrus psyllid launched its devastation, for example, after a single person brought a plant cutting home from Asia.

Along with the psyllid, there's the Asian Longhorned Beetle, which has attacked Massachusetts trees: "You used to have tree-lined streets, and now these neighborhoods are just devoid of trees," says a forester. Others include the Giant African Snail, up to 8 inches long, which eats 500 plants as well as paint and plaster; it can also be a meningitis threat. Click through for the full list.

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Showing 3 of 19 comments
Apr 2, 2013 10:27 PM CDT
International free trade, free international movement, "it will be good for the U S. remember the good old days of tariffs and quarantines.
Apr 1, 2013 2:57 PM CDT
These foreign pest are more common and in places you haven't thought of. Look around there's one in white house :-o.
Apr 1, 2013 2:33 PM CDT
We need a lot more people to begin growing an organic garden at home. If you live in the city, talk to your landlord or super about a roof top garden. neighborhood associations have to lighten up about lawn standards and allow people to turn there land and plant bigger gardens. It won't fix everything, but it will take some of the pressure off of big agriculture and hopefully prevent more monsanto poisons from being sprayed on our food.