A pest is an insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacteria, or other microorganism that is harmful to public health or environment. An invasive pest is both a pest, as defined above, that is also not native to Vermont.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets’ Plant Health Team collaborates with other state and federal agencies, the “green industry” and the public to prevent introduction, spread and establishment of invasive pests in the Green Mountain state. The Plant Health Team also conducts inspection and surveys for state and federally regulated pests, enforces regulations including compliance agreements that prevent further distribution of invasive pests, develops and participates in educational programming for the public and industries, and develops and shares resources about the identification and management of invasive pests.
The Plant Health Team’s approach to managing invasive pests depends on the pest and is guided by federal and state law. It is important to recognize that how the state approaches management may be different depending on the invasive pest. Management goals are influenced by
- the risk of the invasive pest being introduce and/or established in Vermont,
- whether the invasive pest currently is established in the state,
- identified sources of introduction or the common pathway to spread the invasive pest,
- existence of best practices to limit introduction and spread, and
- ability for the Agency to enter into compliance agreements with industries to prevent spread, as necessary.
Below are five of the most concerning invasive pests currently receiving high-priority attention in Vermont: