Invasive Insects Are Here Because The American Government Brought Them Here

Invasive Insects Are Here Because The American Government Brought Them HereInvasive Insects

It is probable that every large country has its share of invasive insects that cause damage to various forms of plant-life. Invasive insects can cause millions or even billions of dollars in damage per year. In the United States, many people living in the south are familiar with the invasive Formosan termite. However, the Formosan termite is far from being the only non-native insect currently thriving in the south. This termite is only known among the American people because of the way in which it makes its presence known. In truth, this termite is only one example of many non-native insects causing damage in the US.

Most people assume that non-native insects arrive in America only by accident, often by hitching rides on large trading ships. However, it may surprise you to know that many of America’s invasive insects are here because they were brought here deliberately. Even more surprising is that the American government has done this very thing, but with good intentions. It used to be believed that certain insects from different countries could be imported to America in order to kill off native insect pests. Well, this is true, but often also  causes serious consequences.

When an insect is removed from its natural environment and placed within a new environment, that insect could become free from predatory threats. A particular type of insect may seem harmless when they are observed within their natural environment. But certain insects may only seem harmless because they are kept in check by the predators that inhabit that same environment. Once insects are placed within an environment that is not their natural home, they may no longer have to fear predators. When this happens, a non-native insect’s behaviour changes, sometimes for the worse.

Prior to the 1950s, entomologists did not fully understand the negative consequences that could result from the release of insects into regions where they are not native. Since then, numerous insects that were imported to fight pests, have tragically become damaging pests themselves.

Which invasive insect do you think is one of the most damaging? How did it arrive in the US?

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