National Plant Board

Plant Pest Issues

You are encouraged to review the issues posted on this page and to make comment to the responsible parties listed on the specific issue page.

Red Palm Mite, Raoiella indica
Red Palm Mite The red palm mite (RPM), a leaf damaging mite, is a pest of coconut, areca palm, and date palms. RPM is a high risk invasive species with the potential to cause serious economic damage to the southern regions of the conterminous United States, Hawaii and its island territories. On December 5, 2007, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced the detection of the red palm mite on a coconut palm in Palm Beach County. This is the first confirmed report of RPM in the United States. (updated 01/2/2008)
Click here for FL DOACS Pest Alert.

Light Brown Apple Moth Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker)
The USDA APHIS confirmed records of the light brown apple moth (LBAM) in in Alameda County, California on March 22, 2007. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is aggressively conducting delimitation surveys to determine the extent of the infestation and has imposed internal quarantines. The USDA has issued a Federal Order. LBAM is a native pest of Australia and is now widely distributed New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Caledonia. Although it was reported in Hawaii in the late 1800s, a recent LBAM detection in California is the first on the United States mainland. If left uncontrolled, LBAM could cause significant damage to many different kinds of crops, including stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and apricots), pome fruit (apples and pears), grapes, and citrus. (updated 06/12/2007)
photo: Todd Gilligan
Click here for CDFA Information.

Potato cyst nematode, Globodera pallida (Stone 1973) Behrens 1975
On April 19, 2006 the U.S. Department of Agriculture in coordination with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced a confirmed finding of potato cyst nematode in a soil sample collected from a potato processing facility in Idaho. The nematode can reduce the yield of potatoes and other crops. There is no sign that the quality of tubers grown in Idaho has been affected. The potato cyst nematode is widely distributed in potato-growing regions in Europe. This is the first detection in the United States. In North America, potato cyst nematode also occurs in Newfoundland, Canada. (updated 12/22/2006)
photo: Ulrich Zunke, University of Hamburg,
Click here for NAPPO Alert

Emerald Ash Borer, Agrilus planipennis
This pest, known as the emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis, is an exotic species previously unknown in North America. In southeast Michigan, trees in the landscape, in nurseries and in wooded areas were detected with infestations of the borer in the summer of 2002. Emerald ash borer has since been detected in Indiana and Ohio, as well as in regulatory incidents in Maryland and Virginia. Usually their presence goes undetected until the trees show symptoms of being infested – typically the upper third of a tree will die back first, followed by the rest the next year.  This is often followed by a large number of shoots or sprouts arising below the dead portions of the trunk. Its host range, as currently known, is limited to species of ash trees. (updated 3/28/2007)
Visit for more information.
photo: David Cappaert,

Phytophthora ramorum, Sudden Oak Death
Since 1995, large numbers of oaks and tanoaks have been dying in the coastal counties of California. Since then, many other types of plants have been found to be infected or associated with this disease, referred to as Sudden Oak Death, ramorum leaf blight or ramorum dieback, or by regulation as the causal agent, Phytophthora ramorum (Pr). First seen in 1995 in Mill Valley (Marin County) on tanoak, the disease has since been confirmed in fourteen coastal California counties (Marin, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Napa, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Clara, Mendocino, Solano, Alameda, Contra Costa, Humboldt, Lake, and San Francisco) and in Curry County, Oregon. The goal of APHIS-PPQ is to define the extent of its distribution in the US and limit its artificial spread beyond the infected area through quarantine and a public education program. (updated 3/28/2007)
Click here for USDA FS Website

Sirex woodwasp, Sirex noctilio
In February 2005 Cornell University identified a female S. noctilio in a sample taken from a Lindgren Funnel trap set in Fulton, NY (Oswego County). S. noctilio is endemic to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, where it is usually regarded at worst, a secondary pest. S. noctilio has the ability to kill trees through it boring and fungus deposition activities. It specifically attacks Pinus spp. Sirex noctilio will use Picea (spruce), Abies (fir), Larex (larch), and Pseudosuga menziesii (Douglas Fir). S. noctilio females carry a symbiotic fungus in a pair of sacs located at the interior end of the ovipositor. The fungus associated with S. noctilio is Amylostereum areolatum Fries. Trees that are stressed by drought, overcrowding, and injury are particularly attractive and vulnerable to S. noctilio. New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing and the USFS are currently conducting surveys to delimit the infestation, determines establishment of this pest, and implement the proper regulatory response. (updated 3/28/2007)
photo: Paula Klasmer, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria,

U.S. Domestic Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan
On August 19, 1998, at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the National Plant Board in Grand Rapids, MI, the membership adopted a revised U.S. Domestic Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan. This plan supports the continuing harmonization of Japanese beetle quarantine and certification requirements to assure that the pest risks are acceptably managed and to facilitate the orderly marketing of nursery stock and other regulated commodities in a manner consistent with the National Plant Board Plant Quarantine, Nursery Inspection, and Certification Guidelines.

Safeguarding American Plant Resources
A Review of the USDA APHIS PPQ Safeguarding System. The National Plant Board, under cooperative agreement with the USDA APHIS PPQ, assembled a panel of stakeholders to review the safeguarding system that protects America from invasive species. The Review proposed specific recommendations on how to optimize that system to improve our abilities to protect domestic plant resources from non-native pests and invasive alien species.