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MDARD Urges Public Vigilance Against Invasive Plant Pests

MDARD Urges Public Vigilance Against Invasive Plant Pests

By Andi Anderson

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is gearing up to tackle the issue of invasive plant pests, diseases, and harmful weeds. With gardening season in full swing, MDARD is urging residents to educate themselves about the risks associated with invasive species and take steps to prevent their introduction and spread.

"April marks National Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, making it an opportune time to address the threat posed by invasive species," remarked Steve Carlson, Director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division.

"Undetected pests have the potential to rapidly proliferate by hitching rides on outdoor equipment, vehicles, and untreated firewood. They can also lurk within plants, soil, seeds, and fresh produce, making it crucial to avoid unwittingly transporting invasive species to new locations."

Here are some simple yet effective ways individuals can contribute to limiting the spread of invasive species:

  1. Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with invasive pests prevalent in your area and report any sightings at
  2. Use Treated Firewood: Opt for heat-treated firewood or purchase wood locally to prevent the unintentional spread of invasive species hiding in untreated firewood.
  3. Practice Vigilance While Traveling: Stay informed about pests in your destination and take precautions to avoid bringing them back with you, especially during international travel.

"Invasive plant pests, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on native flora and fauna, leading to reduced biodiversity, competition for resources with native species, and habitat alterations," emphasized Carlson. "Educating more individuals about the dangers of invasive species is our primary defense and a crucial step in safeguarding Michigan's diverse ecosystems."

For additional resources and information about invasive species and how to report suspected cases, visit Don't miss MDARD's Buggin’ Out video series, covering topics such as invasive species, beneficial insects, and pest management.

Photo Credit: pexels-greta-hoffman

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