Stowaway Insects

 In Blog, Homeowner Tips, Pest Identification
Luggage without wheels

Luggage without wheels (Photo credit: JulianBleecker)

Your bags are packed, your passport is in hand, and your plane tickets are ready; you’re headed home after a long vacation. However, in addition to such personal items, you may also have some unwanted stowaways in your luggage. Invasive foreign insects may easily crawl into suitcases, and, when transported back to your hometown,  may pose a serious threat to local agriculture. How can you be on the alert for stowaway insects?

Pests – The Sneaky Stowaways

Invasive insect species have a greater chance of reaching every corner of the world these days thanks to the wide access to intercontinental transportation options. Travelers going from country to country can easily carry stowaway insects, pests that latch onto suitcases, clothes, even travelers themselves as a means of transportation. When they arrive to their destination, these insects can then multiply rather quickly. Although some insects may die outside of their environments, there is still some concern over unintentional transportation of invasive and destructive insects.

Forest pests are among the most commonly-used examples of stowaway insects, with many of today’s national forests in North America seeing the effects of foreign insect infestations. Some forests have been almost completely destroyed because of insects that made their way into the country. The damage caused by the emerald ash borer is just one of example of the devastating effects of insects that have been accidentally transported into the country. Similarly, the chestnut blight is a pathogen that is also causing concern among forest specialists.

Can Stowaway Insects Be Prevented?

What can you do to avoid contributing to this issue? Be sure to wash your clothes before traveling and avoid natural areas high in insect populations. It should be noted that insects native to North America also pose a threat to countries abroad. Individuals who work in areas in which insect populations are on the increase, or who live in wooded areas where damaging pests reside, should take this into account before traveling overseas. At all costs, check for stowaways before packing, especially as this may help you to avoid an infestation in your home, place of business, or garden.

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