We all enjoy the diversity of plants and animals around us. Various species of birds, numerous shapes and shades of flowers, and the contrasts of native grasses create the beauty of our natural surroundings. While this diversity is meant to be enjoyed, some plants and insects who aren't native to our areas – also called "invasive" – can threaten the delicate balance of nature's beautiful assortment. According to the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, approximately 42 percent of threatened or endangered species are at risk due to non-native, invasive species. Controlling these invasive species helps preserve our ecosystems.
Increased international travel and shipping has opened the door for many foreign insect species to establish residence in our homes and gardens. Many of these bugs – including Formosan termites, stink bugs and crazy raspberry ants – cause damage to both the environment and our property. For example:
Plants Far From Home
Invasive plants can disrupt many natural habitats by aggressively competing with native plant life and, at times, choking out the existence of certain plant species. This reduces biodiversity and disturbs natural ecology. How do these species arrive in our environment? Sometimes, it's an accident as seeds stowaway in international shipments. Other times, plants are selected for horticulture use, often for their hardiness or fast-growing characteristics – the same attributes that can cause these species to elbow-out other native plants.
To make sure pesticide and fertilizer use is safe for our environment, the EPA conducts ecological assessments as part of the pesticide registration process. The assessment includes a wide range of environmental laboratory and field studies that examine the effect the product could have on plants and animals and our soil, water, and air. The assessment determines whether the product is safe for the environment and wildlife.
Inspect and Protect
Prevent pests inside and outside your home all year with simple tips and tricks.