The Lone Star State is home to hundreds of insect species. Some mind their own business, others cause damage to our homes, and some are just plain annoying! On top of the insects we have come to know and hate, are invasive insects. Invasive insects are species that are non-native to our ecosystem and are likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Three of the most common invasive insects in the Houston area are red fire ants, Formosan termites, and Asian tiger mosquitoes.
Red Fire Ants
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Native to Brazil, red fire ants got their name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. Typically, you’ll find fire ant nests outside adjacent to foundation walls. Although in times of crisis, they will enter a structure through HVAC systems or wall A/C units.
When exposed to flooding, these ants will form a ball and float until they reach dry land. Upon arrival to their new “home,” they are more aggressive than usual due to the vulnerability of their nest – injecting more venom than usual in their bites and stings.
Fire ant control can be a challenge. Elimination from a single property will work, but only for up to one season due to their regular reinvasion. In order to protect your home from red fire ants, Holder’s recommends scheduled inspections and treatments. There are multiple red fire ant treatment options based on your location and unique property.
First discovered in the continental United States in 1965 in Charleston, South Carolina, then in Houston and Galveston in 1965 and 1966 respectively, Formosan termites are native to southern China. Most Formosan termite invasions are from shipments of railroad timbers recycled for landscaping purposes.
Nicknamed the “super termite”, these insects have large colonies and are able to consume large amounts of wood in a short period of time. A mature colony may cause severe structural damage to a home in as short as 6 months’ time. In addition to structures, Formosan termites can cause damage to trees, shrubs, landscape timbers, railroad ties, and wooden railroad trusses.
Prevention is key to save your home from these termites. However, if it’s too late, Holder’s will work with you to place a treatment zone around your entire property to eliminate all sources of Formosan termites. In extreme cases, fumigation may be necessary.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Mosquitoes are nothing new to Texas. Native to southeast Asia, the Asian Tiger mosquito has made its way into many countries through the transportation of goods.
As you could guess, the Asian tiger mosquito gets its name from the unique white markings on its body – specifically the white stripe down the center of their head and back. These mosquitoes are known to transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, and dengue fever through their bites.
The best way to prevent the Asian tiger mosquito (among other mosquito species) is to eliminate standing water in baby pools, flowerpots, and birdbaths. Ensure all entry points to your home are secured – including broken screens and small cracks in your foundation and roof. If you’re noticing these mosquitoes around your home, call a Holder’s expert right away.
These are just three of Houston’s invasive species that call Texas home. If you’re noticing other mysterious insects in or around your home, contact Holder’s to come check it out! Our technicians will provide prevention tips or treatment options based on the severity of your problem and each insect’s unique habits.