Invasive Insects Can Put a Damper on Summer Enjoyment

Monday, July 5, 2010

As common summer insects like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, ants and others settle in for the season, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers Americans a guide to other less known invaders that can put a damper on summer fun.

Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) - First found in Alabama in 1930, RIFAs were brought here from South America. Without natural predators in the U.S., RIFAs have thrived, expanding into at least 14 southern states. RIFAs are aggressive and are known to swarm and sting humans and animals when their mound-like nests are disturbed. Homeowners should seal internal and external crevices to prevent entry indoors.

Asian Tiger Mosquito - Originating from Southeast Asia, the Asian Tiger Mosquito is now found in the eastern, Midwestern and southern states. While small, its bite is more irritable than common mosquito bites, and unlike most breeds, it prefers to feed throughout the day. It's also known to spread several diseases, including Dengue, West Nile virus and Japanese Encephalitis. People can protect themselves by using repellants and removing containers that collect water.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug - Likely brought to the U.S. from Eastern Asia, stink bugs were first found in Pennsylvania in 1998. Prevalent in the Northeast, they have also been reported in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and South. They aren't harmful to people and property, but as their name implies, produce an odor when crushed. Homeowners should remove them with a vacuum cleaner and promptly empty the bag so the smell doesn't permeate the area.

Africanized "Killer" Bees - Introduced to the U.S. in 1990 and first found in southern Texas, these vicious stingers are usually found in Southern states. Although their venom is no more dangerous than those of regular honeybees, their tendency to attack in greater numbers poses greater danger to humans. Only pest professionals or beekeepers should address infestations.

For more information on invasive insects or to find a pest professional, visit: www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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