5 Invasive Species in New York: How to Prevent Their Spread and Growth

Invasive species from different corners of the world are slowly making their way into the New York landscape. Invasive species can cause damage to the environment and threaten native species. These species have either been deliberately brought into the country or arrived on their own, posing a significant threat to the region’s biodiversity.

This article explores invasive species in New York that cause havoc to its environment and prevention strategies to control their spread.

How Are These Invasive Species Introduced?

Introducing undesired invasive species is a sad outcome of global travel and commerce. Shipping pallets and boxes, baggage, boat ballast water, and even individuals may accidentally introduce invasive plants, insects, and illnesses to new places. Some species were purposely introduced for beautification, agriculture, and other uses, unaware that they would become harmful.

Consequences of Terrestrial Invasive Species

Invasive species negatively influence many elements of life, from enjoyment to livelihood. The invasive spotted knapweed may take over agriculture fields, restricting crop productivity and animal feed. The hemlock woolly adelgid is a destructive bug that defoliates and destroys hemlock trees, which are vital for preserving habitat near streams.

Invasive species also ruin the places we love and need expensive remedies, whether they harm the economy or the ecology.

Some Invasive Species in New York State

1. Asian Longhorned Beetle

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) (Anoplophora glabripennis) is an invasive beetle that was thought to have come to New York from its native China in untreated shipping and wooden crates.

Since ALB likes to live on maple trees, spreading the beetle to the rest of the state would be bad for the maple syrup business because healthy sugar plants would die as consequence. Plus, Maple is suitable for making furniture, floors, and other things.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

2. Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed is originally from Asia but was brought to the U.S. as a garden decoration back in the XX century. Over the past two decades, the plant has spread to Midwestern and Eastern states. But how invasive are they? Its sap can cause third-degree burns or even make you blind if it gets in your eye. So be careful with the Giant Hogweed.

Giant Hogweed

3. Sirex Woodwasp

Sirex Woodwasp larvae, Sirex noctilio, burrow deeply into the trunks of all types of pine trees.

The Sirex woodwasp (S. noctilio), also an invasive species in the woods of the Southern Hemisphere, has been responsible for the death of millions of North American pine trees. Up to this day, the Sirex woodwasp is responsible for somewhere between $16 and $60 million worth of yearly damages in those woods.

Sirex Woodwasp

4. Spotted Lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect from Asia that feeds predominantly on trees and fruits. This insect alters New York’s woods, agriculture, and tourist economies.

These invasive insects can travel wide. If this pest spread further, it could hurt the grape, hops, orchards, and logging industries in the United States in a big way. The spotted lanternfly feeds on over 100 species, most of which are woody plants.

Spotted Lanternfly

5. Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is the common name for a wood-boring beetle known scientifically as Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Originally from Asia, its population was first confirmed in southeast Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, in 2002.

During the mid-1990s, EAB was most likely brought to the region in ash wood used for transporting pallets and packing materials in cargo ships or shipping containers. 

Since its introduction, the EAB has swiftly expanded throughout North America, bringing down the ash tree population by destroying up to 99 percent of ash trees in its course.

Emerald Ash Borer

Related: Invasive Species in Hawaii, Invasive Species in Michigan

Prevention of Invasive Species

General Guidelines

  • Find out about the invasive species that are taking over your area. Check this site to see what species to report when seen. Check New York iMapInvasives to learn about how.
  • Help PRISM search and remove invasive plants. Here you’ll learn new ones and participate in one of the other events they are hosting.
  • Learn and spread awareness on appropriately disposing of invasive plant species.
  • Strange sighting in the woods, field, or yard? Send your photos and specimens to the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab. They can help you determine what it is and what to do with it.

Tips for Outdoorsy People (Hikers, hunters, travelers)

  • Seeds from invasive plants can stick to garments and shoes. It’s best if you can wear clothing that’s resistant to seed. Seeds can easily cling to Fabrics like Wool, fleece, and Velcro®, so it’s best to use smoother materials like nylon. 
  • Clean your hiking boots and gear after use to prevent invasive species from spreading. Use a disinfectant spray or wipe the shoes after use. You can also carry a brush, scissors, and some tools for cleaning outdoor gear.
  • Do not wash your gear in streams or rivers. If you do, use biodegradable soaps and clean your gear thoroughly before drying them.
  • When camping or hiking, make sure that you pack out all trash and waste that you bring. Dispose of all to a designated cleaning station or waste-disposal areas. Invasive insects and illnesses likely spread through the transport of firewood. 
  • Check New York’s firewood regulations before carrying wood on a camping or holiday trip.

Tips for Gardeners and Landscapers

Invasive species pose a significant environmental risk because they can cause climate change, and biodiversity loss and threaten native plants and animals. Invasive species can even harm agricultural and forestry systems. Plus, they can infect people and cause serious illnesses.

To fight invasive species, we need to control their spread. Thus a widespread use of well-designed guidelines and even regulations through policies and treaties is necessary to prevent future introductions of invasive species. 

Want to do your part? Share this post. Spread awareness. Whatever you do, remember that we are responsible for our environment, and we must do our part to safeguard it against the long-lasting consequences of invasive species before it’s too late.

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