Invasive Species News and Research, July 2021

Several invasive pests, diseases, and plants expanded their boundaries this month.
a dozen wild boar or feral hogs, root in soil

The staff and board of the North American Invasive Species Management Association review invasive species headlines each month. This helps us stay on top of trends and further our mission to support, promote, and empower invasive species prevention and management in North America. We then share invasive species news most relevant for people who manage terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the the United States, Canada, Mexico and the world.


Prevention, Outreach and Education

Craft Brewers Want to Raise Awareness About Invasive Species

Wyoming — Read on Wyoming News

Members of the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild recently released a Fruited Wheat Ale collaboration brew and offered a limited-edition pint glass sponsored by Wyoming Weed and Pest Council and PlayCleanGo, a national education campaign focused on preventing the spread of invasive species.

Montana Trying to Prevent Canadian Bacon Invasion

North America — Read on Daily Montanan

‘Squeal on pigs’ campaign aims to alert state officials of wild pigs. 

Register for our 2021 annual conference for sessions on this campaign and other wild boar initiatives in the U.S. and Canada.

Have You Herd? The Goats Are Back at Riverside Park.

New York — Read on The New York Times

After taking a break last year, goats have returned to help fend off invasive plant species. New Yorkers can use ranked-choice voting to pick their favorites.

Playing with Fire: Recreating Safely with Invasives in Sagebrush Country

Western U.S. — Watch from the Intermountain West Joint Venture

Talking about invasive weeds isn’t sexy but they are darn dangerous to the places and wildlife we love. By keeping each other accountable and taking action every time you go outdoors, together we can help protect sagebrush country.

Ins and Outs of Invasives Series

California – Learn more on the San Diego River Park Foundation

A powerful partnership is working on removing invasive plant species around the El Capitan Reservoir, in the upper San Diego River watershed.

New Research

Attached Algal Blooms are an Emerging Threat to Clear Lakes Worldwide

Global — Read on

In a scientific article published this week in BioScience, “Blue waters, green bottoms: benthic filamentous algal blooms are an emerging threat to clear lakes worldwide,” scientists from around the world explore how nutrient pollution, climate change, loss of aquatic animals that eat algae, and  contribute to the increased occurrence of green bottoms.


Detection, Management and Control

Tiny, wormlike organisms called nematodes gather around a larger pest
Tiny, wormlike organisms called nematodes that attack cranberry pests could offer a natural alternative to using insecticides. Credit: Shawn Steffan

Microscopic Worms to the Cranberry Rescue

Wisconsin – Read on

Developing alternative controls as part of an integrated pest management approach can reduce or replace the need for insecticides, noted Shawn Steffan, an entomologist with the Agricultural Research Service Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison.

Read more about biocontrol in NAISMA’s invasive species resources section.

Swimmers Discover Zebra Mussels have Invaded More Minnesota Lakes

Minnesota — Read/listen on Minnesota Public Radio

It’s not unusual for lake users to discover new infestations, said Heidi Wolf, the DNR’s invasive species coordinator. “They’re kind of our best eyes and ears out there,” she said. “They’re out enjoying the water, and they cover more places than DNR staff are able to.”

Oak-killing Disease Spreading Farther North in Minnesota

Minnesota — Read/listen on Minnesota Public Radio

People can help stop the spread by not pruning oaks from April to July, using locally sourced firewood and by reporting oak wilt if they find it. 

Dutch Elm Disease Identified in One Saskatoon Tree

Saskatchewan — Read on City of Saskatoon

The City’s DED Response Plan, which requires immediate removal of all positive trees.

Hammerhead Flatworm Spotted in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Texas — Read on CultureMap
As if red ants and killer bees aren’t bad enough, there’s another invasive species in Texas that has slithered into Fort Worth: an extra-long worm — it can be nearly a foot long — disgusting on its own, but also predatory, in that it eats earthworms, which are essential to maintain healthy soil.

Invasive Cogongrass Confirmed in Arkansas

Arkansas — Read on The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Charles Bryson, a retired botanist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spotted cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), an invasive species native to Southeast Asia.

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Indiana

Indiana — Read on Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was found in Indiana for the first time in Switzerland County earlier this week, the farthest west the insect has been found. 


Amid Clamor to Increase Prescribed Burns, Obstacles Await

Oregon — Read on Oregon Public Broadcasting
Today, officials want to sharply increase prescribed fires — those set intentionally and under carefully controlled conditions to clear underbrush, pine needle beds and other surface fuels.

Invasive Bradford Pear, 3 Other Species to be Banned for Sale in SC

South Carolina — Read on Clemson News

South Carolina will become only the second state in the United States to ban the nursery sale of Bradford pear trees and any other pear trees grown on the commonly used Pyrus calleryana rootstock.

A Watershed Moment: How Boston’s Charles River Went From Polluted to Pristine

Massachusetts — Read on InsideClimate News

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan officially announced earlier this month that the Biden administration will reinterpret the Trump administration’s definition of what constitutes “waters of the United States”—waterways that are deserving of federal protection. The agency’s researchers had determined that many wetlands and rain-fed intermittent and ephemeral streams were significantly connected to larger bodies of water than met the eye—and thus those tributaries warranted protection.


‘One of the most damaging invasive species on Earth’: Wild Pigs Release the Same Emissions as 1 Million Cars Each Year

Canada and U.S. — Read on The Conversation

A big reason they’re so harmful is because they uproot soil at vast scales, like tractors ploughing a field. New research published this month is the first to calculate the global extent of this and its implications for carbon emissions.

L. dispar caterpillar and pupa
L. dispar caterpillar and pupa. Photo from Adobe Stock.

U.S. — Read on The New York Times and listen on NPR

Staff at the Entomological Society put together the Better Common Names Project, a task force to review and replace offensive or inappropriate insect common names. The project plans to recruit community-driven working groups to propose new names, involving people who study the insects or are from or live in the region where the insects originated, Mr. Stelzig said. The project invites anyone to submit insect common names that should be changed.

National Moth Week was this month! Read our post on Invasive Moths and How to Report Them.

Turning Kenya’s Problematic Invasive Plants into Useful Bioenergy

Kenya — Read on Mongabay

Kenyans are innovating to find ways to reduce water hyacinth by finding practical uses for the invader. In 2018, a program was launched to turn the exotic species into biogas which is then offered to economically vulnerable households to use as a biofuel for cooking.

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