Understanding Pest Alerts and their Importance to Florida Agriculture

November 27, 2012

What is a pest?

A pest is “a plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns in agriculture and livestock.” In its broadest sense a pest is a competitor to humanity. Pest is a generic term from insects, vermin, weeds and plant pathogens. For the purposes of the Division of Plant industry we focus on insects, weeds and plant pathogens. Examples of recent pest alerts include the giant African land snail, honeysuckle whitefly and downy mildew.

Why are pest alerts and circulars issued?

Pest alerts and circulars are issued to inform the public and scientific community of emerging pests that could be a threat to Florida’s agriculture and natural areas. The purpose of these publications is to educate and involve the public in the effort to stop the spread of the pest. Pest alerts and circulars can be information intensive, but don’t be intimidated. Knowledge is key!  DPI’s slogan is protection through detection.  Protection through detection is much easier with an informed public out there looking for and reporting new pests in their area. It truly becomes a cooperative effort between the inspectors and public to detect and protect Florida’s agriculture and environment.

Why is vigilance important?

Keeping a look out for the pests and diseases is important because the earlier we find them, the easier they are to eradicate and control. The best defense against new pests and diseases is to stop them before they get established. So help us by reading some of the recent pest alerts and circulars, then take a look around your yard and natural areas to see what might be out there. If you see something suspicious let us know. Look for it and report it!


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