- 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.
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: