Happy Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month!
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has listed April 2022 as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (IPPDAM). The USDA says that this declaration is to bring awareness to issues such as the spread of invasive species, diseases spread through them, biodiversity, and how the loss of plants can affect food crops.
An exotic air potato plant infestation being treated with Air Potato Leaf Beetle, (native to Asia), Indian River County.
Spring marks the emergence of damaging pests, spurred on by climate change, making this an important month for catching invasive bugs or plant sightings. Florida has over 500 non-native species, according to the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
You can track and report invasive species in your area through applications like EDDMaps or iNaturalist by posting pictures with GPS locations. Florida residents can also report invasive species sightings to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission online or through their phone application as well.
The USDA's full announcement, including what you can do to protect plant health, can be read here.