How to Manage Pests
What Are Exotic and Invasive Pests?
Adult male light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana.
Historically, people frequently brought species of plants and animals
with them from their native lands to California, either accidentally or
intentionally. Some introductions did unexpected damage while others had
positive outcomes (food and horticultural crops). Many invasive plant
problems began as ornamental plants for sale by nurseries and garden centers.
Today, exotic and invasive plants are still available in commercial nurseries. Other
exotic species arrive in products brought into California by travelers
or shipped in commercial trade.
Many exotic invasive pests are of major concern in California. The
glassy-winged sharpshooter (an insect) and purple loosestrife (a weed) are
two invasive species that are established in some areas but still threaten
to invade other areas. Newer exotic species of concern include Diaprepes
root weevil, light brown apple moth (LBAM), and various aquatic weeds. Some
of the worst invasive plants in California, saltcedar and yellow starthistle,
have caused substantial changes to California’s wildlands. Insect-carried
diseases such as West Nile virus threaten public health and also affect
horses and native birds.
What can you do to help stop the spread of exotic and invasive species?
- Don't release exotic or invasive plants into
the environment. Don't
dump your aquatic plants or aquarium water into local waters, since many
aquarium plants are highly invasive. Many invasive plant species are still
sold at nurseries and garden centers. The
California Invasive Plant Council promotes horticultural alternatives to invasive plants in a series of
regional brochures entitled Don’t Plant a Pest.
- Use plants native to your area for landscaping. Native plants have
benefits such as requiring less water, providing habitat for native
butterflies and pollinators, and usually have fewer pest problems, too!
- Don't bring foreign plant or animal material
into California when you travel or spread species from local quarantine
areas to non-infested areas.
- Don't move firewood. Buy it where you burn it. Many pest insects and pathogens move in firewood. See the California Firewood Task Force web site for more information.
- Learn to identify invasive species new to California. Contact
your local UC Cooperative Extension
office or Agricultural
Commissioner for help identifying suspected invasive species
or look at the UC IPM or CDFA
- Report invasive species in your area! Contact your local UC
Cooperative Extension office or Agricultural Commissioner to report
invasives and to get information on controlling invasive species on
For more information see our Exotics
and Invasive Pests page and our Pest Notes
Plants and Woody
To find other ways you can help stop the spread of exotic and invasive