James E. Zablotny, USDA
TREE THREAT: An emerald ash borer beetle rests on an ash tree leaf. The emerald ash borer is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. Native to Asia, it likely arrived in the U.S. hidden in wood packing materials. Females lay eggs in bark crevices on ash trees and larvae feed underneath the bark of ash trees to emerge as adults in one to two years.
Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
CITRUS TARGET: The Asian citrus psyllid causes serious damage to citrus plants. Burned tips and twisted leaves result from an infestation on new growth. Psyllids are also carriers of the bacterium that causes Huanglongbing disease, also known as citrus greening disease and yellow dragon disease. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure.
John H. Ghent and Manfred Mielke, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
DEFOLIATOR: The Asian gypsy moth is similar to the European gypsy moth found in the northeastern U.S., but it has a much broader host range. Each female moth can lay hundreds of eggs that, in turn, yield hundreds of voracious caterpillars that may feed on more than 500 tree and shrub species. Large infestations can completely defoliate trees. This defoliation can severely weaken trees and shrubs, making them more susceptible to disease. Repeated defoliation can lead to the death of large sections of forests, orchards and landscaping. Their ability to fly long distances makes it probable that the moths could quickly spread throughout the U.S.
NO CURE: The Asian longhorned beetle currently infests areas in Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. With no current cure, it has the potential to cause more damage to hardwood trees than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight and gypsy moths combined.
YELLOW DRAGON: Citrus greening is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Infected trees produce fruits that are green, misshapen and bitter, unsuitable for sale as fresh fruit or for juice. Most infected trees die within a few years.
ATTACKS PALMS: The coconut rhinoceros beetle attacks coconut palms by boring into the crowns or tops of the tree where it damages growing tissue and feeds on tree sap. The damage can significantly reduce coconut production and kill the tree. The beetle is also known to feed on crops such as bananas, sugarcane, papayas, sisal, pineapples and date palms.
CHERRY FEEDER: The European cherry fruit fly is the most serious pest of cherries in Europe. The fly attacks ripening fruit, causing it to rot and fall off the tree. In heavily infested areas, the fly can destroy up to 100% of cherry and other host plants if left uncontrolled. In 2016, this pest was found on wild honeysuckle at several sites in Ontario. In 2017, it was found in traps hung in wild honeysuckle plants and sweet cherry trees along the Niagara River in New York.
E. Bradford Walker, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Bugwood.org
FOREST DANGER: European gypsy moth caterpillars attack more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, posing a danger to North America's forests
A European Grapevine Moth on tree bark
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry, Bugwood.org
DAMAGES GRAPES: The European grapevine moth was first detected in the U.S. in California in September 2009 and was fully eradicated in August 2016. It can feed on the flower or fruit of host plants, most often grapes. If the moth attacks mature grape clusters, the berries can become further damaged through a potentially deadly infection of a fungus called botrytis, also known as bunch rot.
Tertia Grové, Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops, Bugwood.org
WIDELY ADAPTED: The false codling moth is a threat to many of fruits, vegetables and other crops. Increased international trade and tourism has increased the risk of introduction of this pest. False codling moths can survive in climates described as tropical, dry or temperate. The first U.S. detection was in Ventura County, Calif., in 2008.
Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org
GIANT SNAIL: The giant African snail consumes at least 500 types of plants and can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures. This snail can also carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. It was first found in southern Florida in the 1960s, and it took 10 years and $1 million to eradicate it. It was reintroduced in 2011, and eradication efforts are currently underway.
USDA APHIS PPQ - Imported Fire Ant Station, Bugwood.org
ANT THREAT: Imported fire ants eat many crops and have a fearsome sting. They will feed on the buds and fruits of corn, soybean, okra, citrus and many other plants. They can also girdle young trees. Their large nests can interfere with and damage equipment during cultivation and harvesting. They respond rapidly and aggressively to disturbances.
Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development, Bugwood.org
STORED GRAIN: The Khapra beetle is a destructive pest of stored grain. Established infestations are difficult to control because the beetle can survive without food for long periods, requires little moisture, hides in tiny cracks and crevices, and is relatively resistant to many insecticides and fumigants. It is not currently in the U.S. but is often detected and destroyed in passenger baggage and cargo.
Lesley Ingram, Bugwood.org
LIKES APPLES: The Australian-native light brown apple moth damages agriculture produce, many plants found in backyard gardens, and eucalyptus and poplar trees.
Scott Bauer, USDA ARS
BIG TROUBLE: The Mediterranean fruit fly is considered one of the most important agricultural pests in the world. It has been recorded infesting a wide range of commercial and garden fruits, nuts and vegetables, including apples, avocados, bell peppers, citrus, melons, peaches, plums and tomatoes.
Jack Dykinga, USDA ARS, Bugwood.org
MEXICAN FLY: The Mexican fruit fly was first found in central Mexico in 1863, and by the early 1950s flies were found along the California-Mexico border. The pest has since been detected in Arizona, California and Texas. A large number of commercially grown crops including avocados, grapefruits, oranges, peaches and pears would be threatened if the Mexican fruit fly became established.
Peggy Greb, USDA ARS
EATS CORN: The old world bollworm is known to attack more than 180 plant species. Damage occurs when the larvae bore into the host’s flowers and fruit and feed within the plant; the larvae may also feed on the leaves of host plants. Corn, cotton, small grains, soybeans, peppers and tomatoes are among the threatened crops.
Scott Bauer, USDA ARS
FRUIT FEEDER: The oriental fruit fly is known to attack more than 400 fruits and vegetables, including apricots, cherries, citrus, figs, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes.
ORCHARD RAIDER: The spotted lanternfly is native to China and was first detected in Pennsylvania in September 2014. It feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees. If allowed to spread in the U.S., this pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries.
TREE DISEASE: Sudden oak death is caused by Phytophthora ramorum, a water mold pathogen. The pathogen is also the cause of the ramorum leaf blight, ramorum dieback and phytophthora canker diseases. SOD was first detected in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1990s. It was first recognized as killing trees in Oregon forests in in 2001. The SOD pathogen is considered especially dangerous because it affects a wide variety of trees, shrubs and plants and there is no known cure. It also infects rhododendron, camellia and other common horticultural nursery plants.