Traveling outside of the country? Don't Pack a Pest!

Our Money

Invasives, a Staggering Cost to the Economy

According to estimates, invasive species cost the global economy $1.4 trillion a year — $138 billion in the U.S. alone. Travelers who fail to declare agricultural products in their luggage can add to this economic catastrophe. The annual cost in the U.S. is about equal to the entire annual gross domestic product of the Dominican Republic, or the total cash holdings of Apple!

What We Pay for Food That Never Gets Harvested

Each year, pest insects destroy about 13 percent of potential crop production, representing a value of about $33 billion in U.S. crops. Pest insects can be introduced by travelers carrying agricultural products in their luggage.

Higher Grocery Bills Result from Farmers' Losses

Crop weeds alone cause $24 billion in losses and damages each year. Producers spend an additional $3 billion on control measures for a total cost of $27 billion annually. (That figure exceeds the economy of 130 countries.) Weeds can hitchhike on plants carried in passenger baggage.

Protect Your Pocketbook

Individuals who fail to declare noncommercial agricultural items may be subject to penalties ranging from $1,100 to $60,000 per violation. These penalties are based on authorities granted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Plant Protection Act and the Animal Health Protection Act.

Fighting Pests Costs Communities Billions

The imported fire ant, zebra mussels, Asian clam and Formosan termite each cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion per year in losses, damages and control costs. These are but four of the hundreds of pests of economic significance that have infested U.S. crops and natural areas, often because of their introduction via passenger baggage.

United States Department of Agriculture Customs and Border Patrol Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services California Department of Food & Agriculture