For a lot of homeowners, “invasive insects” just means “any pest that I wouldn’t want invading my house.” But for pest professionals (like the ones at ScherZinger Pest Control), the term “invasive species” has a particular definition: an invasive species is one that isn’t indigenous (native) to a particular area and results in harm.
What’s the big deal with invasive species? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these particularly problematic pests.
What’s the Harm with Invasive Species?
Invasive species can be a big problem. Not only can they be frustrating to deal with for the average homeowner, invasive insects and other species can cause economic and environmental harm to the area. Invasive species often adapt quickly, crowding out native species, disrupting the ecosystem, and harming property. They typically don’t have any natural predators, meaning it’s easy for them to multiply quickly.
How do invasive species get from one place to another?
Some are brought on purpose by people who don’t realize the consequences. For example, a number of species have been brought to new areas as a form of pest control. Mongooses were brought to Hawaii from India in the late nineteenth century by sugar cane farmers in order to control the area’s snakes and rats. Unfortunately, the mongooses did so well on the island that they decimated not only the snake population, but also native birds, turtles, and other animals.
Other invasive species are released accidentally. Burmese pythons, for example, are native to southeast Asia, but they can be found in the Florida Everglades! Why? It’s because people bought them as pets, but the snakes escaped or were released into the swamp when they got too big.
Still other invasive species are brought over, completely unknown to the people carrying them. They hitchhike (much like bed bugs).
Are There Invasive Species in Ohio?
Yes, Ohio is home to a number of invasive species. Aside from a few species of invasive fish, most are invasive insects.
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: This bug is so common, you might be surprised that it’s invasive. The brown marmorated stink bug comes from east Asia. This insect is a problematic pest for fruits, vegetables, and other crops—not to mention a nuisance inside the home. In the fall and winter, this bug often enters homes in large numbers seeking warmth and shelter. Like its name suggests, this stink bug smells terrible when disturbed or killed, making it tricky to eliminate.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB): This exotic-looking beetle was accidentally brought to the U.S. in untreated wooden shipping pallets delivered to New York. In 2011, the beetle was found in Ohio. This beetle threatens Ohio’s hardwood forests by infesting trees, which can lead to falling branches and property damage.
- Box Tree Moth: This moth comes from Asia. It infests, damages, and kills boxwood plants (not great if you’ve got them in your yard!).
- Emerald Ash Borer: Of all the invasive insects in Ohio, this is the one you’ve most likely heard of. The Emerald Ash Borer, native to Asia, is now found throughout most of the U.S. This insect infests, damages, and kills ash trees–at this point, millions of trees in North America. It can be spread to new areas in infested firewood, timber, and nursery trees. Because the Emerald Ash Borer is such a big problem, people are advised not to bring firewood from one area to another and to use local sources of firewood.
- Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA): The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is an aphid-like insect that attacks hemlock trees. It was discovered in Ohio in 2012. A recognizable sign that this insect has infested a tree is the presence of cotton-like wax left behind on the needles.
- Spongy Moth: This European moth entered Ohio from Michigan and Pennsylvania. It attacks more than 300 different types of trees and shrubs–from crabapple, to oak, to sumacs. Female spongy moths lay 500-1,000 eggs, meaning their numbers grow quickly.
- Spotted Lanternfly: This invasive insect found in Ohio is originally native to China, India, and Vietnam. Here, it infests and destroys fruit plants (like grapes) and woody trees. The insect feeds on the trunk and branches, resulting in oozing sap and encouraging mold.
What If You Find an Invasive Insect?
If you spot any of Ohio’s invasive insects, the Ohio Department of Agriculture wants to know. (They are working to locate and eradicate invasive insects.) The Ohio Plant Pest Reporter is an online place to report where the pest was found.
Need Help with Pests?
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.