What’s the Buzz? A Closer Look at Four Non-native Pests Invading the U.S.


When you think of an insect problem, you usually think of household pests infesting a home. Lately, however, you might have heard about bigger insect problems in the news: invasive species.

An invasive species, according to National Geographic, is an organism that is not native to a particular area and can cause great economic and environmental harm. Well-known invasive species are the wild boar, zebra mussel, and carp, but there are also invasive insects, like the Asian giant hornet, the spotted lanternfly, the Asian longhorned beetle, and the emerald ash borer.

Non-native species have devastating effects simply by being present, and they are leading threats to native wildlife. In fact, approximately 42% of threatened and endangered species are at risk because of them. Invasive species primarily spread when people and goods unintentionally carry invaders with them. Once introduced into an ecosystem, they can quickly spread and take over. They also prey on native species, outcompete for food or other resources, carry disease, and prevent native species’ reproduction.

Let’s take a look at the insects.

Asian giant hornet

Asian Giant Hornet

Where they can be found in the U.S.: Washington

The Asian giant hornet, dubbed ‘murder hornet’, has made quite a few headlines recently. Up to 5 cm in length, they are the largest species of hornet in the world. If that wasn’t intimidating enough, they’ve got a stinger to match.

Asian giant hornets, as their name suggests, are native to Southern Asia and were first spotted in the Americas in 2019. They pose a threat to native species as they feed on other insects, especially honeybees. If you spot a wasp or hornet nest, do NOT attempt DIY wasp nest removal! Give us a call and one of our pest professionals can safely address the problem and help you report the situation to local officials.

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly

Where they can be found in the U.S.: Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Native to China, the spotted lanternfly was first discovered in the United States in 2014 (but it’s estimated they were present for 2-3 years prior). They feed on a variety of fruit and trees such as apple, nectarine, maple, pine, and oak, severely weakening and damaging these plants. They also leave behind a sugary honeydew, which attracts other insects and promotes harmful mold growth.

Spotted lanternflies get around by hitchhiking on almost any surface, and they can travel long distances. The best way to stop these invasive insects, according to the USDA, is to look for and report any signs of them such as a buildup of sticky fluid (honeydew) on plants and the ground underneath.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Where they can be found in the U.S.: Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina

Asian longhorned beetle

The Asian longhorned beetle traveled to the United States in untreated wooden packing crates from China. These insects are definitely noticeable, with their white spots and long black “horns”, or antennae. Asian longhorned beetles damage hardwood trees through their feeding and burrowing. They threaten many species, such as poplar, maple, elm, and mulberry. It’s not just backyard trees at stake, however. They have the potential to destroy millions of acres of trees, including national forests.

Inspect your trees and look for signs they have been visited by Asian longhorned beetles. These signs include chewed, round depressions in tree bark, pencil-sized exit holes, and excessive sawdust buildup near the base of the tree.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald ash borer

Where they can be found in the U.S.: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Another invasive insect that poses a major threat to America’s trees is the emerald ash borer. This jewel beetle was discovered in Michigan in 2002 and is easy to spot due to its bright green coloring. Also native to Asia, this tiny beetle may seem harmless, but can take down ash trees thousands of times its size.

Emerald ash borers are known to bore into trees and feed underneath the bark, which disrupts the trees’ ability to transport water and nutrients. They exclusively damage ash trees and are responsible for destroying more than 40 million of them in Michigan alone! These invasive beetles are spreading quickly, and the best thing to do is know the symptoms: thinning/dying ash tree crowns, splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes and woodpecker activity.


If you have a pest problem and need a trustworthy pest control service, we can help. Request a quote or call 855-855-4873 and a pest control professional will address your needs.

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