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COLUMN: Marking National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Rosanne LoParco
Sentinel columnist
Posted 2/19/23

This year’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is Feb. 20-26. NISAW seeks to educate us on invasive species prevention and management.

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COLUMN: Marking National Invasive Species Awareness Week


This year’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is Feb. 20-26. NISAW seeks to educate us on invasive species prevention and management. Invasive species include plants, animals, and pathogens that are not native to our ecosystem and whose introduction causes economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. All of us have a stake in the issue.

Anyone who enjoys gardening or the outdoors needs to be familiar with invasive species.

Potential pathways for individuals to spread invasive species include the aquarium trade, boating, hiking, fishing, and swimming. Seeds, plant parts, or larvae attached on boots, waders, clothing, automobiles, recreational and commercial boats, paddles, life jackets, and bilge water are examples of some potential vectors that can spread invasive species. 

Why should we care

Invasives can have a huge negative impact on biodiversity. Invasives can out-compete native species for resources, preying on native species as well as acting as disease vectors. There’s an economic impact too; invasives decrease agricultural crop yields, clog waterways, and decrease waterfront property values. Many invasive species impact human health, such as giant hogweed, wild parsnip, and West Nile virus.

What can we do

Early detection can help prevent significant impacts. Familiarize yourself with the invasive species of concern in our area. Visit New York State’s Invasive Species Information website at Here you will find individual species profiles, fact sheets and photographs of invasive insects, aquatic animals, aquatic plants, pathogens and parasites, terrestrial animals, and terrestrial plants that are invasive in New York.

Oneida County is part of the St. Lawrence and Eastern Lake Ontario (SLELO) Partnerships for Regional Invasives Species Management (PRISM) region, another great resource for information regarding invasives in our area. Visit their website, Consider becoming a citizen science volunteer for SLELO PRISM; visit their website for more information.

Invasives to be concerned about

Unfortunately, there is an extensive list of invasives in New York; however, two important invasive insects include spotted lanternfly (SLF) and hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). The SLF is a serious threat to our forests, orchards, and vineyards. SLF will lay egg masses on tree trunks and any hard surfaces including vehicles, stones, metal and patio furniture. Now is a good time to be on the lookout for egg masses, from September to May.

For more information on what these egg masses look like and how to remove them, visit the NYSDEC website at Here you’ll also find information on how to report any SLF sites.

The HWA is an aphid-like insect attacking North American hemlocks. Native hemlocks are an essential component of our forest ecosystem. Now is a good time to look for their white woolly masses resembling cotton swabs that are found on the underside of branches at the base of tree needles.

For more information including how to report any sites, visit the NYSDEC website at

While you’re still waiting for this year’s gardening season to begin, why not familiarize yourself with invasive species and learn what New York is doing and what you can do to help combat them.



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