Invasive species are the homewreckers of the natural world. These pests can go unchecked by outcompeting native plants and animals, harming ecosystems, and costing us billions of dollars in lost revenue.
This isn’t an exaggeration. Every year, the U.S. loses about $21 billion because of invasive species. And besides the fact that these critters can choke out native species and spread disease, they also, unfortunately, take over quickly.
To limit their destruction, governments, nonprofits, and scientists are urging people to eliminate some invasive species they come across.
Here is a list of five invasive species to keep an eye out for and destroy if you get a chance.
The Spotted Lanternfly
If you’re unfortunate enough to live in an area with these guys, do your part, and as the New Jersey government requests, “stomp it out!” These lanternflies have invaded several states in the northeast, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to crops and killing trees all over the place. So if you come across them, turn them into squashed lanternflies.
Pretend you’re Dracula and take out these garlicky-smelling plants you happen across. Garlic mustard, originally from Europe, has invaded the U.S. from the Midwest to the Northeast, choking out tons of native plants and wreaking havoc on local ecosystems. The best way to remove this edible invasive species is by ripping it up from the roots.
The Tiger Mosquito
Most states across the U.S. are now dealing with these mosquitos that are recognizable by their striped bodies. Unfortunately, they can carry a variety of diseases like West Nile virus or dengue fever. So if you happen to see one of these pests, do your part for public health and show them the bottom of your shoe.
Few invaders are as ferocious as kudzu. This invasive species, which can swallow up entire buildings or trees, has invaded 60% of American states, killing most plants in its path. Kudzu makes fast work of its competition, with one estimate claiming that the plant grows its range over 150,000 acres every single year. If you happen to encounter kudzu, cutting it from the base may kill it. Others prefer to use mowers or herbicides.
Due to its invasive status, opportunistically killing and disturbing native species across much of the U.S., it may as well be called the tree-of-hell. But perhaps the worst impact of this invasive species is that it has helped the spotted lanternfly invade the U.S. by providing a suitable habitat for egg-laying. If you see a young tree-of-heaven, pull it from the roots or chop it down.
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