Who are First Detectors?

This growing team of individuals, equipped to notice and report pests and pathogens, includes over 17,000 people across the country. Most First Detectors are in positions to notice unusual outbreaks or pest symptoms through roles as cooperative extension county educators, crop consultants, pesticide applicators, growers, master gardeners, master naturalists, industry representatives, NRCS conservationists, and other agricultural professionals. By completing NPDN First Detector training either online or through in-person training, they have honed their pest detection skills. 


Why be a First Detector?

With the risks that face our agricultural and ornamental industries as well as our natural ecosystems and the impact that exotic pests and diseases can have on our crop biosecurity, we need as many people as possible monitoring for exotic plant pests, plant diseases, and weeds.


Upon course completion, you will be able to...

  • Submit diagnostic samples to your local plant diagnostic clinics and understand the diagnostic process.
  • Become familiar with some national and/or local pests of concern and be able to monitor for them
  • Receive the bimonthly First Detector e-newsletter
  • Obtain a certificate of completion and CEUs
  • Receive local and/or regional updates from NPDN state and regional coordinators as information is available.




Training Opportunities

First Detectors learn about local, regional and national target pests so they know what to look for in their communities and are equipped to report occurrences or submit samples to their local diagnostic lab for confirmation. Training courses, available in person or easily accessible through the learning modules on this website, will teach you to:

  1. identify the symptoms of specific pest outbreaks and
  2. report them or submit samples to your local diagnostician lab for identity confirmation.


Take Online



A Workshop.




Online Training

Become a First Detector!