Holiday travel often involves destinations where insects and potential pests abound. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a robust program to prevent entry of ‘invasive species’ into the United States. According to the USDA, nearly every terrestrial, wetland and aquatic ecosystem has been invaded by non-native species, with economic losses estimated at $137 BILLION per year!
As an example, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was first discovered in Texas in the mid-1980s. It has since spread to over 40 states and is very difficult to control. It is a highly pestiferous biter during the daytime, is capable of spreading several viruses including Zika, and is very aggressive.
Here are a few things you can do when traveling to limit the spread of invasive species:
- Don’t be a ‘Pest Packer’. Fruits, vegetables, plants and animals can harbor unwanted vermin.
- Declare all agricultural items (including food) to customs officials when returning from international travel.
- Clean thoroughly outdoor equipment such as tents, hiking boots, waders, etc.
For more information and guidance on what you can do to help with the invasive species problem when traveling AND at home, visit the National Invasive Species Information Center at https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/