Kentucky's Invasives and Pests of Concern Office of the State Entomologist
As the United States continues to expand its export markets around the world and increase the variety of agricultural commodities it imports, the U.S. has a greater chance to bringing in unwanted pests. What should you do if you suspect you have found a non-native pest or pest of concern?
Unlucky for Kentucky
Non-native (invasives) can devastate our state and that is unlucky for Kentucky. Through the federal program called CAPS (Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey), a cooperative effort between the University of Kentucky and state and federal agencies, we survey for invasives and pests of concern in the state of Kentucky.
Hungry pests are invasive species that threaten to harm our crops and trees. Left unchecked, they can devastate entire agricultural industries, eliminating jobs, threatening our food supplies and costing billions.
Invasives are a major concern! We want you to be alert to this and what you can do to prevent or mitigate the movement or introduction of an invasive! In many cases quarantines are put in place in order to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of invasives!
How do I learn about areas under quarantine outside of Kentucky?
There are areas outside of Kentucky that are quarantined for Asian Longhorned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth, Thousand Cankers Disease (Walnut Twig Beetle), and other pests. Find if your state or local area has a quarantine in place for any pests of concern for the United States.
Who can I contact for treatment or tree removal?
Should you need the aid of an arborist for treatment or tree removal. We highly recommend that you contact certified arborists in your area for questions and pricing. Also, know that not all arborists are certified to do treatments. When talking with them, request information about specific pests of concern! Using a certified arborist allows you to have more information about them and their practices via the ISA.
I have received seed packets but I never ordered them. What do I do?
If you or anyone that you know, received one or more unsolicited seed packets - please do NOT open or plant any of those seeds! Instead please send the seed and the packaging to the USDA office in Burlington, Kentucky. To do so, please fill out the Unsolicited Foreign Seeds Form and mail it along with the unsolicited seed and packaging to the address listed on the form. With your help, USDA is trying to piece together all the information they can to determine the reason behind the shipments. Any information you provide is greatly appreciated! We have developed a FAQ page below as well to help answer any questions you may have. Please let others know about this and how they can help if they have received unsolicited foreign seed packets! Thank you for your help!l
UNSOLICITED FOREIGN SEEDS FAQ
- I received seeds that I did not order, can I plant them?
- We are asking that anyone who receives seeds that they did not order to not plant the seeds.
- I recently received seeds that I did not order, what should I do?
- We are asking residents of Kentucky to mail the seeds and the envelope to the USDA office in Northern Kentucky. They are collecting the seeds and forwarding them to a national diagnostic lab. The address and other information is on the Unsolicited Foreign Seed Form.
- I live outside of Kentucky. Who should I contact?
- Visit the National Plant Board website to find your appropriate state contact.
- I have ordered seeds online (through Amazon or other vendor) in the past, is this cause for alarm?
- Not necessarily, however we do strongly encourage everyone to make sure the seeds they are purchasing come from a reputable vendor. Online purchases of plants, seeds, and other plant products can be risky because these items can carry a range of invasive pests and plant diseases that are not currently in the U.S. These purchases can also be illegal without proper inspections and paperwork, such as permits or plant health certificates.
- Why am I receiving seeds that I did not order?
- Although the investigation is still ongoing, the early thought is this is a "brushing" scam. This is where sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting consumers and then post false reviews to boost sales.
- Why does the envelope say the contents inside the package are things like jewelry instead of seeds?
- Seeds are subject to inspection at U.S. ports of entry while other items may not require an inspection.
- I have already planted the seeds before I knew this was a problem. What should I do now?
- Please contact Joe Collins who can walk you through the necessary steps. 859.218.3341
- Is there any dangerous substance on the seeds that can make me sick?
- There does NOT appear to be anything nefarious on the seeds however out of an abundance of caution, we are recommending that people do not open the pouch of seeds. Wash your hands thoroughly after placing the seeds in the envelope to mail to the USDA office in Northern Kentucky.
- Is there anything I can do to keep from getting more seeds that I did not order?
- The USDA strongly recommends that consumers who have purchased seeds via internet platforms (Amazon or others) to change their password.