Invasive Species Can Cause Serious Damage to Homes

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.

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