Invasive Species Can Cause Serious Damage to Homes and EnvironmentNPMA Staff
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
By NPMA Staff
Invasive species, or insects of foreign origin, have increased
in population and are causing serious problems for American
homeowners. According to the National Pest Management Association
(NPMA), homeowners nationwide should remain vigilant to ensure
protection against invasive insects - specifically Red Imported
Fire Ants (RIFA) and Formosan Termites.
"Unfortunately, invasive species breed rapidly, spread easily
and can out-compete native species for resources and space," says
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "They
can quickly infest homes and cause severe structural damage and in
the case of RIFA, may cause injury. Once identified, infestations
must be treated by a pest professional to effectively control and
eliminate the problem."
Homeowners should especially be aware of RIFAs, who set up
quarters between boards and timbers, in cracks on concrete walls
and belongings in homes. They arrived in the United States in the
1930s and have progressively spread across the South and into parts
of California and other western states. RIFAs bite humans with
their powerful jaws and sting repeatedly causing itchy blisters
that can become infected.
Another prominent invasive insect is the Formosan Termite. This
species entered the U.S. through military cargo shipments from East
Asia after World War II. They pose a greater threat than their
native counterparts because they form larger colonies and tend to
be more aggressive, thus consuming more wood at a much faster rate.
Formosan Termites are heavy contributors to the $5 billion in U.S.
annual property damage caused by all species of termites.
The NPMA recommends that homeowners consult with a qualified
pest professional to inspect the property and prescribe necessary
treatments to keep their family healthy and their home safe.