Kudzu, once used for livestock forage and erosion control, is now probably one of the most recognizable invasive species in the South. The fast-growing vine can grow up to a foot a day and kill existing plants through crowding and shading. That’s not a good thing for local farmers.
Not only do invasive species affect farming and horticulture, but they also affect homeowners and consumers across the state. In the United States, invasive species including weeds, insects and diseases are estimated to cost more than $137 billion each year.
To raise awareness about kudzu and other invasive species, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has declared August as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.
During August, we’ll feature periodic stories about the employees and programs of the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division, which monitors invasive species locally. We’ll help you identify non-native species prevalent in North Carolina; tag along with a field specialist as he tests area lakes for hydrilla; and learn more about the department’s ongoing efforts to combat the gypsy-moth population in the state.
The links below provide more information about invasive species, and offer ways you can join the fight against them:
- USDA blog post: Blog post announcing Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.
- APHIS Twitter Feed: Updates on the activities of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
- Hungry Pests: Includes resources for identifying invasive species, and ways to contact experts.
- N.C. Invasive Species Advisory Committee: Includes facts and resources to help state agencies involved with invasive species monitoring and regulation.