Warmer weather has people on the move, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is hoping pests don’t hitch a ride with hikers.
According to USDA, damage caused by invasive tree and plant pests coupled with the cost of control and eradication efforts can reach $40 billion a year.
For example, the Asian longhorned beetle has caused the loss of more than 180,000 trees in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
“We are now working hard to contain the damage from hemlock woolly adelgid in southwest Michigan and oak wilt in several counties across the state,” said Greg Norwood, the Michigan DNR’s terrestrial invasive species coordinator.
Help prevent pests and diseases from hitching a ride by washing dirt and debris off outdoor gear and tires before traveling. When traveling, leave firewood at home and instead buy it at the destination. Finally, check with a local USDA office before bringing home fruits, vegetables or plants from other states.
“It is important for everyone to take steps to limit the risk of introducing new pests and diseases to Michigan,” added Norwood.