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Remain aware of invasive species

Invasive species are a threat to agriculture, that's why U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue declared April as National Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month.

“Invasive pests attack trees, plants and agriculture," Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said in press release. "The damage can be severe and eradication efforts are costly.”

According to the press release, pests hide inside plants, fruits, vegetables and firewood and can spread when these things are moved to different locations. These pets also can be inadvertently spread by people when they travel.

Strain offers these tips to prevent the spread of invasive species:

• Remove egg masses and insects from patio furniture, grills, bikes and other outdoor items.

• Before traveling out of state by vehicle, clean it first. Check the wheel wells, bumpers and other hard-to-see areas to ensure it is free of soil, egg masses and insects.

• When purchasing plants, make sure you purchase from a retailer that complies with federal and state quarantine restrictions.

• Do not take untreated firewood with you, for example, on a camping trip. Buy certified, heat-treated firewood at your destination.

• When traveling internationally, do not bring home an unusual plant, a souvenir made from plants or wood, or even a piece of fruit as a snack for the plane trip home. It is also recommended that you research beforehand to see what will be allowed to take back into the U.S.

More information is available on the LDAF website by clicking on the Hungry Pests link.

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