Not all pests are created equally. Some, such as commensal rodents, cockroaches and bed bugs, are ubiquitous and familiar, as they live virtually everywhere that humans do. Accordingly, pest control professionals have established effective protocols for treating most of these critters.
However, new pests arrive from overseas on a daily basis. Traditional treatment strategies often fail to stop these alien invaders, requiring pest control professionals to devise new control measures.
Some of these alien invaders prove easy to treat, while others prove resilient, and thwart repeated control efforts.
Gambian Pouched Rats
The largest rats in the world, Gambian pouched rats have recently colonized Grassy Key – one of the Florida Keys. Growing up to 35 inches in length and weighing as much as 9 pounds, these rodents have no natural predators on the island, which has allowed their population to explode. While pest control professionals and state officials have tried to eradicate the rats since 2007, the rats reproduce quickly enough to maintain a viable population.
Burmese pythons are one of the largest snake species in the world, and escaped pets have managed to establish a viable population in South Florida. While the young snakes are likely eaten by a variety of predators, the adults are effectively immune to predators other than humans. Poisons and repellants are ineffective on the serpents, so hand collecting them is the only viable method of control devised. Unfortunately, because the snakes are such secretive creatures, hand collection is not effective for removing significant numbers of the snakes from the wild.
Giant African Land Snails
Giant African land snails are huge – up to 9 inches in length – terrestrial snails, native to sub-Saharan Africa. The snails have colonized portions of Florida, probably as the result of released pets. The problem is quite serious: Florida state officials have collected approximately 40,000 giant land snails since 2011. Voracious predators of nearly 500 plant species, these mollusks also harm plaster and stucco structures, causing additional economic damage. Perhaps most alarmingly, giant land snails may carry a parasite that can cause meningitis in humans. While two common snail poisons have proven somewhat effective, officials are hopeful that boric acid may prove effective enough for widespread use.
Conehead termites are native to several Caribbean Islands, but they have been causing problems in the U.S. since 2001. Highly aggressive and capable of surviving in a wide range of habitats, these surface-traveling terrors cause serious damage to wooden structures in their path. Pest control professionals have found that traditional termite control measures are largely ineffective against this species; instead of relying on baits or broadcast sprays, pest control professionals must locate and destroy the termite nest. Talk to your local pest professional, such as The Bug Man, for more information.