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Pests and Diseases

CBP Agriculture Specialists encounter many different pests and diseases that pose a threat to United States agriculture, livestock and residents. See relevant USDA APHIS links for further information. 

Pests and Diseases

African swine fever is a deadly pig disease that spreads rapidly and affects domestic and wild swine. While not a threat to human health, the virus could devastate America’s swine, pork industry, and food supply. Whatever pigs mean to you—your livelihood or a pet—we’re all in it together. Protect our swine and keep the disease out of the United States.

USDA APHIS | Protect Our Pigs | Fight African Swine Fever

The Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama or ACP) causes serious damage to citrus plants and citrus plant relatives. Burned tips and twisted leaves result from an infestation on new growth. Psyllids are also carriers of the bacterium that causes Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, also known as citrus greening disease, spreading the disease to healthy citrus plants. Citrus greening is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure.

USDA APHIS | Asian Citrus Psyllid

The Asian longhorned beetle, or ALB, is an invasive insect that feeds on a wide variety of trees in the United States, eventually killing them. The beetle is native to China and the Korean Peninsula and is in the wood-boring beetle family Cerambycidae. Adult beetles are large, distinctive-looking insects measuring 1 to 1.5 inches in length with long antennae. Their bodies are black with small white spots, and their antennae are banded in black and white. Checking your trees regularly for this insect and looking for the damage it causes and reporting any sightings can help prevent the spread of the beetle.

USDA APHIS | Asian Longhorned Beetle - About

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by an influenza type A virus which can infect poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, domestic ducks, geese, and guinea fowl) and wild birds (especially waterfowl).  

USDA APHIS | Avian Influenza

Black stem rust is an important disease of wheat. It has a wide host range including wheat, oats, barley, rye, timothy, wild and grasses and barberry. It is caused by the fungus Puccinia graminis. The fungus is heteroecious, alternating from cereal to barberry or Mahonia. While the fungus is coexistent with wheat through out the world, the disease causes most damage in moderately moist areas and in moist seasons in areas with low average rain fall. Eradication of barberry in northern regions is an important strategy to control black stem rust. 

USDA APHIS | Black Stem Rust and Barberry

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), widely referred to as “mad cow disease,” is a progressive and fatal neurologic disease of cattle. It is caused by an unconventional transmissible agent, an abnormal prion protein. 

USDA APHIS | Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

This invasive pest can significantly damage and potentially kill boxwood (Buxus species) plants if left unchecked. Boxwoods are a popular ornamental evergreen shrub common to almost all landscape environments in the temperate United States. The insect is native to East Asia and has become a serious invasive pest in Europe and Canada, where it continues to spread. The caterpillars feed mostly on boxwood and heavy infestations can defoliate host plants. Once the leaves are gone, larvae consume the bark, leading to girdling and plant death.

USDA APHIS | Box Tree Moth

The brown tree snake has caused extensive economic and ecological damage to Guam. The snake is responsible for numerous power outages across the island each year and is an opportunistic feeder that has caused the extirpation or extinction of most of Guam's native forest birds and lizards.

USDA APHIS | Brown Tree Snake

Brucellosis is a contagious, costly disease.  While most often found in ruminant animals (e.g., cattle, bison and cervids) and swine, brucellosis (also known as contagious abortion or Bang's disease) can affect other animals and is transmissible to humans. The disease is caused by a group of bacteria known scientifically as the genus Brucella. 

USDA APHIS | National Brucellosis Eradication Program

Cattle Fever Ticks (Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus and R. (B.) microplus) (CFT) are important parasites of cattle due to their ability to vector Bovine babiesiosis and anaplasmosis.

USDA APHIS | Vector-Borne Diseases

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an infectious, degenerative disease of animals in the family cervidae (elk, deer, and moose, etc.) that causes brain cells to die, ultimately leading to the death of the affected animal. First recognized in Colorado in 1967, CWD was described as a clinical 'wasting' syndrome of unknown cause. It later became clear that CWD was a member of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs. 

USDA APHIS | Cervids: Chronic Wasting Disease

Chrysanthemum White Rust, caused by the fungus Puccinia horiana P. Henn., is a quarantine significant pest in the United States. Importation of certain Chrysanthemum (including Dendranthema), Leucanthemella, and Nipponanthemum species are prohibited from several countries, territories, and possessions due to the potential of this organism to be transported with prohibited host articles.

USDA APHIS | Chrysanthemum White Rust

Citrus black spot (CBS) is a citrus disease caused by the fungus Phyllosticta citricarpa (previously known as Guignardia citricarpa). This fungus affects citrus plants throughout subtropical climates, reducing both fruit quantity and quality. All commercial cultivars are susceptible, but late-maturing cultivars and lemons are most vulnerable.

USDA APHIS | Citrus Black Spot

Citrus canker is a citrus disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (synonym X. axonopodis pv. citri). While not harmful to humans, canker significantly affects the vitality of citrus trees, causing leaves and fruit to drop prematurely. A fruit infected with canker is safe to eat, but has reduced marketability as fresh fruit.

USDA APHIS | Citrus Canker

Citrus Greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. It is also known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow dragon disease. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. While the disease poses no threat to humans or animals, it has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops. 

USDA APHIS | Citrus Greening

Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious and economically significant viral disease of pigs. 

USDA APHIS | Classical Swine Fever

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) was first detected in Hawaii in December 2013. This invasive pest is native to Southeast Asia. It attacks coconut palms by boring into the crowns or tops of the tree where it damages growing tissue and feeds on tree sap. The damage can significantly reduce coconut production and kill the tree.

USDA APHIS | Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) is a venereal disease caused by the bacteria, Taylorella equigenitalis affecting only the equine species. It can have significant impacts on reproduction.  

USDA APHIS | Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM)

Tobamoviruses can cause severe crop diseases and result in significant economic losses in a wide range of plant species.

USDA APHIS | Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus

Dickeya species are bacteria that cause diseases on numerous crops and ornamental plants world-wide. Within the Enterobacteriaceae family, eight genera, including Dickeya, are pathogenic to plants. 

USDA APHIS | Dickeya

The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis or EAB) is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. Native to Asia, it likely arrived in the United States hidden in wood packing materials.

USDA APHIS | Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV), also known as Equine Rhinopneumonitis, is a highly infectious Alphaherpesviridae found virtually worldwide. There are currently 9 known EHVs.

USDA APHIS | Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a viral disease affecting only members of the equidae family (horses, ponies, zebras, mules, and donkeys). There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease.

USDA APHIS | Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)

Equine Piroplasmosis is a blood-borne protozoal infection of horses. Equine Piroplasmosis is present in South and Central America, the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern and Southern Europe. 

USDA APHIS | Equine Piroplasmosis

Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) is a contagious viral disease in horses caused by Equine Arteritis Virus (EAV).

USDA APHIS | Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA)

Damage associated with this pest is caused by larval feeding in the fruit pulp, which can result in losses of up to 100% if left uncontrolled. This pest may be introduced to new areas through the transport of infested fresh cherries, soil, or fruit from host plants grown in areas where this pest is found.

USDA APHIS | European Cherry Fruit Fly

The European Grapevine Moth (lobesia botrana or EGVM) is a significant agricultural pest throughout much of the world. It was first detected in the U.S. in California in September 2009 and fully eradicated in August 2016. The European Grapevine Moth is such a big threat because it can feed on the flower or fruit of host plants, most often grapes. 

USDA APHIS | European Grapevine Moth

The European Larch Canker Quarantine is listed under 7 CFR Part 301.91 of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, as published in the Federal Register, and also under Title 12 MRSA, §8305 of the Laws of the State of Maine.

This quarantines all parts of larch (Larix spp.) including logs, pulpwood, branches, twigs, etc., as regulated articles.

USDA APHIS | European Larch Canker

Feral swine are the same species, Sus scrofa, as pigs that are found on farms. Feral swine are descendants of escaped or released pigs. Feral swine are called by many names including; wild boar, wild hog, razorback, piney woods rooter, and Russian or Eurasian boar. No matter the name they are a dangerous, destructive, invasive species.

USDA APHIS | Feral Swine-Managing an Invasive Species

The flighted spongy moth complex (including Lymantria dispar asiatica, L. dispar japonica, L. albescens, L. umbrosa, and L. post-alba, also formerly known as the Asian gypsy moth) is a group of exotic pests of Asian origin not known to occur in the United States. If they would become established here, they could cause serious, widespread damage to our country’s landscape and natural resources. 

USDA APHIS | Flighted Spongy Moth Complex

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a severe and highly contagious viral disease. The FMD virus causes illness in cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other animals with divided hooves. It does not affect horses, dogs, or cats.  

FMD is not a public health or food safety threat. It is also not related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a common childhood illness caused by a different virus.

USDA APHIS | Foot and Mouth Disease

Giant African Snail  is one of the most damaging snails in the world because it consumes at least 500 types of plants and can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco structures. This snail can also carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. 

USDA APHIS | Giant African Snail

Golden nematode is a serious agricultural and quarantine pest. The United States positively identified G. rostochiensis in 1941 in a potato field in New York that had been a staging area for military equipment returning from World War I. Mud on the tires of returning vehicles likely spread the nematode.  Cysts of the nematode can live in soil for 30 years and the nematode can cause direct crop losses, increase pest control costs, constrain cropping patterns, and devalue infested land.

USDA APHIS | Golden Nematode

Rangeland in the western United States is a valuable agricultural resource for livestock production and provides an important habitat for wildlife. Grasshoppers and Mormon crickets are natural components of this ecosystem. However, their populations can reach outbreak levels and cause serious economic losses to rangeland forage, especially when accompanied by a drought.

USDA APHIS | Grasshopper Mormon Cricket

Imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren, S. richteri Forel) will feed on the buds and fruits of numerous crop plants, especially corn, soybean, okra, and citrus. They can also girdle young trees. 

USDA APHIS | Imported Fire Ant

There are three subtypes of influenza A viruses that are commonly found in United States swine:  H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2. Most of the influenza viruses that circulate in pigs are different from the ones that circulate in people.

USDA APHIS | What is Influenza A Virus in Swine (IAV-S)

The Japanese beetle is a highly destructive plant pest that can be very difficult and expensive to control. Feeding on grass roots, Japanese beetle grubs damage lawns, golf courses, and pastures. Japanese beetle adults attack the foliage, flowers, or fruits of more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants.

USDA APHIS | Japanese Beetle

Karnal bunt, caused by the fungus Tilletia indica Mitra, is a disease of wheat and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). The fungus and the plant disease that it causes are harmless to humans and animals. 

USDA APHIS | Karnal Bunt

The Khapra Beetle(Trogoderma granarium) is one of the world’s most destructive pests of stored grain products and seeds. Its feeding damage often spoils 30 percent of the product; up to 70 percent damage has been reported. Previous U.S. detections of this tiny beetle have required massive, long-term and costly control and eradication efforts. 

USDA APHIS | Khapra Beetle

The Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis capitata or Medfly) is considered the most important agricultural pest in the world. The Medfly has spread throughout the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, the Middle East, Western Australia, South and Central America and Hawaii. 

USDA APHIS | Mediterranean Fruit Fly

The Mexican Fruit Fly is a serious pest to various fruits, particularly citrus and mango. Mexican fruit fly was first found in Central Mexico in 1863, and by the early 1950s flies were found along the California-Mexico border. The pest has since been detected in Arizona, California and Texas. 

USDA APHIS | Mexican Fruit Fly

Nutria are large, semi-aquatic rodents that are native to South America. The species is invasive in the United States, and is now established in 17 states. Nutria cause extensive damage to wetlands, agricultural crops, and structural foundations such as dikes and roads.


The Old World Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) is known to attack more than 180 plant species and can damage crops. The larvae bore into the host plant's flowers and fruit and feed within the plant, causing damage. The larvae maybe also feed on the leaves of host plants.

USDA APHIS | Old World Bollworm

The Oriental Fruit Fly is a destructive agricultural pest in many parts of the world. It is a tropical species that is widespread through much of the mainland of Southern Asia, neighboring islands, and in Africa. Oriental fruit fly was first found in Hawaii in the mid-1940s.

USDA APHIS | Oriental Fruit Fly

Potato Virus Y (PVY) is a monopartite, single stranded RNA virus that infects mainly Solanaceous plants including, potato, tomato, pepper, tobacco and eggplant. There are multiple strains of the virus including the common strain, PVYO, which causes mosaic symptoms in most hosts. 

USDA APHIS | Potato Virus Y Strains

Pseudorabies is a disease of swine that can also affect cattle, dogs, cats, sheep, and goats. Pseudorabies virus (PRV) is a contagious herpesvirus that causes reproductive problems, (abortion, stillbirths), respiratory problems and occasional deaths in breeding and finishing hogs. 

USDA APHIS | Swine: Pseudorabies

Ralstonia solanacearum is a bacterium that causes wilt diseases in plants. It is not harmful to humans or animals.

USDA APHIS | Ralstonia

The South American cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum,  is a grayish-brown moth with a wingspan of approximately 0.86 to 1.4 inches belonging to the insect family Pyralidae. 

USDA APHIS | South American Cactus Moth

Last Modified: May 15, 2024