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Help Stop Invasive Species during National Invasive Species Awareness Week

LANSING - National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is an international annual event held February 26 through March 3, 2024, looking to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat they pose, and what can do together to prevent their spread. In support of NISAW, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is encouraging all Michiganders to do their part to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, and pathogens not native to an area and can cause serious harm to the environment, economy, agriculture, or public health. These pests often are fast growing, reproduce rapidly, and have few predators or natural controls in their new environments.

"Our department works tirelessly to prevent the spread of these pests, but getting everyone involved in prevention and detection is key to the fight against invasive species," said Steve Carlson, MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director.

Here are some ways to help limit the spread of invasive species:

  • Buy heat-treated firewood or buy wood where you burn it to avoid transporting insects or tree diseases that may be hitchhiking untreated wood.
  • When returning from international travel, declare food, plants and other agricultural items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure these items are pest-free.
  • Avoid buying seeds or plants online from unknown vendors.
  • After enjoying the outdoors, inspect and clean shoes, clothing, gear and vehicles to assure they are pest and seed free.

Each year, invasive pests destroy up to 40 percent of food crops around the world and cause billions of dollars in production and trade losses, added Carlson. Additionally, the changing climate and increasing loss of biodiversity are made worse when invasive species alter our natural ecosystems.

Check out MDARD s Buggin Out video series to learn more about invasive pests posing a threat to plants and agriculture in Michigan. Report signs of invasive plant pests and diseases to MDARD through the Michigan Invasive Species website or at 800-292-3939.


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