Over the years, countless invasive species have made their way into the United States, both intentionally and accidentally. Read on to learn more about 7 of the most common U.S. invasive species and the threats they pose to human health and property.
Red Imported Fire Ants
This invasive species is found throughout the southern part of the U.S. These ants, and their telltale mound nests, should be avoided at all costs. Interfering with a fire ant nest can cause them to sting en masses resulting in painful welts.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
This invasive species arrived from Asia to the U.S. in 1996 and has since rapidly spread throughout much of the country. They are a significant threat to agriculture, and are known to invade homes in large numbers, where they emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed or crushed.
Because of their aggressive nature, this invasive termite species is difficult to control once they infest a structure. A mature Formosan termite colony can cause severe structural damage to a home in as little as six months.
Norway rats are believed to be of Asian origin but are now found throughout the world. They can cause damage to structures through their gnawing, and are also vectors of serious diseases including plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever and salmonellosis.
Starlings were introduced intentionally to New York over a hundred years ago by Shakespeare enthusiasts who wanted to introduce every bird mentioned in the playwright’s works to the U.S. They have since spread throughout the country. Their droppings may cause significant structural damage to buildings, as well as promote fungal growth in soil and lead to diseases.
Africanized “Killer” Bees
A dangerous stinging insect, Africanized "killer" bees are highly aggressive and have been known to chase people for more than a quarter of a mile in defense of their hive. While their venom is no more potent than that of regular honeybees, they tend to attack in greater numbers, which increases the threat to humans.
Asian Tiger Mosquitoes
This invasive mosquito species can be found throughout the U.S. but is most prevalent in southern regions. They are capable of transmitting diseases including West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus and dengue fever. Unlike native mosquito species, they typically feed during daylight hours.
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