Ants, bedbugs, roaches and spiders get most of the attention when people start discussing pest control issues. However, there are a lot of other interesting, rather ominous insects that are wreaking havoc and costing businesses millions of dollars. Here is a list of 8 pests that should concern business owners:
- Asian Citrus Psyllids are a serious threat to California’s $1.3 billion dollar citrus industry. This insect carries the deadly Huanglongbing (HLB) bacteria which kills all varieties of citrus trees. What makes this problem even worse is that these pests are sneaky and it takes years for the problem to become evident. So, if the owners aren’t paying close attention, the psyllids can continue eating away at their trees and the disease will be allowed to spread even further. “Left unchecked, the Asian citrus psyllid will spread throughout California. There is no cure and it is a death sentence for citrus,” warns Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell, a University of California entomologist.
- Emerald Ash Borers threaten wooden furniture manufacturers, lumber companies and even companies that make baseball bats. These metallic-green insects are attempting to destroy 7.5 billion ash trees in the U.S.
- Persea Mites are attacking California’s $320 million avocado industry (90% of our nation’s avocados are grown in California). These mites feed on avocados. This causes the tree’s leaves to fall off prematurely and without leaves to protect the tree from sunlight, the tree’s bark becomes sunburned and then the fruit doesn’t grow properly.
- Crazy Rasberry Ants threaten every business in parts of Texas. Houston is especially hit hard. Crazy rasberry ants bite humans and are attracted to electrical equipment, where they enjoy nesting in it and chewing it up. Even NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Clear Lake Texas, has had to have treatment done to control these pest.
- Asian Lady Beetles are a threat to the grape and wine industries and any business that has a building. Asian lady beetles like dining on peaches, apples, grapes and other fruits. Wine growers have found that even if a small amount of these beetles are accidentally processed along with grapes, the flavor of the wine may be tainted. They are also a nuisance to building owners because these pests fly into buildings during the winter, where they crawl into windows, walls and attics. Then, before dying, they will release an annoying stench and a messy yellow fluid that leaves stains.
- The Varroa Destructor threatens our country’s $12 billion beekeeping industry. Juvenile honeybees born under the influence of this pest are often deformed and have missing legs or wings. We depend on honeybees to pollinate flowers and crops. So, you can easily see that the Varroa Destructor is not only creating a major problem for the U.S., but for the entire world.
- The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is attacking farmer’s crops. Apples, figs, peaches, citrus and mulberries are most at risk. The damage done by these pests is mostly cosmetic, however, it’s hard to get potential customers to buy fruit that looks disgusting.
- Coffee Borer Beetles are attacking Hawaii’s $60 million coffee industry. These insects are also well known in Central America and South America. Coffee Borers typically ruin about 20% of a crop and they estimate about $500 million in damage is done every year.
Most of these pest have been brought in from other countries and are not native to the United States. “Termite” Terry says that we, as citizens, need to be more careful when traveling or importing goods. He says it is especially critical that we should not bring in live plants or produce from other regions or countries unless those items have been carefully inspected by our authorities. “Termite” Terry asks for everyone to remember that it only takes one plant, one fruit or one shipping container infested with some new insect to cause millions or even billions of dollars in damage.