Washington’s Invasive Insects Are Big Concern for All Residents, Here’s Why
Prepare to get creeped out by all the creepy crawling, flying, stinging, plant-eating, and fruit-destroying insects that call Washington State home or could potentially invade the PNW. If you encounter any of these invasive insects, go to the Washington Invasive Species Council website to file a report or to learn how to eradicate them. If you come in contact with one of the more aggressive species, file a report as soon as possible and do not attempt to catch or provoke.
Vespa Mandarinia aka Asian "Murder" Hornet
It’s really no surprise that the Asian Hornet is once again on top of the invasive insect species list in Washington. Asian Hornets, which arrived in the United States from Japan, prey on honeybees. They are most aggressive in late summer and fall and are known for attacking honeybees in large swarms with an outcome of total honeybee hive annihilation with nothing but decapitated victims left as evidence.
Asian Hornets don’t typically seek out to attack humans, but if they feel threatened they will not hesitate to defend themselves and their nest (usually underground). Unlike some bees and hornets, they can sting their victims many times, and although it is rare, can cause death. Stings are very painful and will require immediate medical assistance. As mentioned above, do not attempt to provoke or catch an Asian Hornet – contact the Washington Invasive Species Council immediately and file a report. Time is of the essence.
Sirex Noctilio aka Sirex Woodwasp
The Sirex Woodwasp originated from northern Africa and is not necessarily harmful to humans but it is very harmful to Washington’s pine, spruce, and fir trees. The destructive wasps lay their eggs and leave an associated fungus and mucus that eventually kill the trees they infest. When hatched they bore into the tree and grow into adults before taking flight.
Luckily, the Sirex Woodwasp has not arrived in Washington State just yet. They have remained mostly on the east coast of the United States. Take a good look at the mug shot above and if you encounter this suspect report it to the Washington Invasive Species Council – click on “take action”.
Rhagoletis Pomonella aka Apple Maggot
The Apple Maggot is the most destructive apple invasive species on Earth. It originated in eastern North America and poses a major threat to apple crops in Washington State. Maggots that reach adulthood lay their eggs in apples - eggs hatch and the young maggots eat the fruit rendering it useless for human consumption.
Apple Maggots have been in Washington since the early 1980s and at one point were only in 1 or 2 counties. Now, in 2022, the invasive species is in 22 of Washington’s 39 counties. They may be called Apple Maggots but they also pose a threat to apricots, cherries, cranberries, pears, and plums.
Halyomorpha Halys aka Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
This pesky invasive species was first discovered in Washington in the 1990s and are native to East Asia. It preys on a long list of plants, plants that you will find around your yard and in your garden. The list of plants they like to invade is too long to list as it includes over 170 plant varieties.
As you tend to your garden this year, be on the lookout for these suspects and the evidence they leave behind – small damaged patches. They will render everything they infect inedible – although it won’t harm you, infected produce is not appetizing. The creepy thing about these stink bugs is they will enter homes and take up residence for the winter before emerging again in the spring to continue doing damage. Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are known to have invaded 29 counties in the state.
Amphimallon Majale aka European Chafer
This little bugger is a beetle that was discovered seven years ago in SeaTac. What’s bad about the European Chafer is they love to feed on beautifully maintained lawns! They cause the most damage during the pupation period (when they’re young grubs) in the spring when they feast on grass. Dead patches will begin to appear all over. They are not established in Washington…yet, and they are also potentially hazardous to Washington’s vast amount of crops.
If you encounter any of these invasive insects please contact the Washington Invasive Species Council and file a report and/or find more information.
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