Here are the five costliest invasive species, and how much cost in damage they are.

Animals are a real threat to humanity. Google the world’s most dangerous animals, and you’ll come in second place. Do you deserve a medal? And with all that threat comes a great cost involved. That awkward moment when people troop to the streets with plaque cards demanding that the government fix an artificially induced natural threat such as climate change. You’ll soon be in first place as the most dangerous creature. Dear friends, we’re not being rude with humanity today, but here are the five most costliest invasive creatures in the world. Spoiler, you didn’t make the list.



#5. Fire Ants

SpeciesSolenopsis invicta;

Cost in damages: roughly US$17 billion since the 1970s.

Image: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Their fierce and aggressive foraging tactics make them a predominant species. Their chances of survival are higher than extinction when introduced to a new region. They make an excellent predatory species. Native to South America, fire ants can thrive in any condition. They made their way around the world during the 1930s by boats, mostly carried in the soil from the region. Fire ants soon made it to Australia and southeast Asia. Fire ant colonies have devastating consequences: they attack almost anything in their way, from their typical stings and bites to feeding on seedlings. Eradicating their species has been a force to reckon with.

Have you ever been bitten by a fire ant before?



#4. Termites

SpeciesCoptotermes formosanus;

Cost in damages: roughly US$19 billion since the 1970s.

Image: Adams Exterminating / iStock / Getty Images Plus

These are another fierce and aggressive subterranean species that’s native to East Asia. They have managed to spread all around the world through global trade. Termites are capable of thriving under cellulose and moisture conditions — like woodlands. They easily build colonies upon their introduction into a new region. Their insane appetite for wood can wreak disaster on all forms of wooden structures, from homes to barns and even to bridges. They can also cause damage to farm crops, and the costs associated with their impact is mainly on infrastructure.

Have you ever been infested with termites before?



#3. Cats

SpeciesFelis catus;

Cost in damages: roughly US$52 billion since the 1970s.

We normally keep cats as pets in our homes, but little did we know about our cute though curious friends that they are costing us a lot. Native to almost all non-frozen parts of the world, their fierce hunting tactics makes them excellent predators — their big cousins do it better. They prey on a variety of species ranging from insects to birds to their best known arch rival, rodents (next in this list). According to estimates, cats kill approximately a billion birds each year in the United States alone. The economics damage inflicted by cats is as a result of their impact in our livelihood, their domestication has made them a friendly predator.

Have you ever been attacked by a cat before?



#2. Rodents

SpeciesRattus;

Cost in damages: roughly US$67 billion since the 1970s.

Commercial Rodent Elimination | Ecolab
Image: Ecolab / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Rats are also native to almost all non-frozen parts of the world, and their hitchhiking invasive abilities makes them thrive anywhere. They find their way around the world by invading sailing vessels and arrive at new regions. They often outcompete other species for survival, and can pose a threat to birds and some aquatic species, too. Rats have driven many species to extinction. The Pacific rat species native to mainland southeast Asia, for instance, wiped out at least a thousand species of island birds. But their best known for invading farmlands, barns, warehouses, and our homes.

(Sad fact: Did you know that rats where largely involved in the transmission of the bubonic plague?)

Have you ever been invaded by rodents before?



#1. Mosquitoes

SpeciesAedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti;

Cost in damages: roughly US$149 billion since the 1970s.

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous species, and its no surprise they cost us a lot. A. albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito, made it to the United States in the mid ‘80s. It was first detected in Houston, and quickly spread to 40 other states. It also invaded parts of Africa, Latin America, Australia and southern Europe.

Image: Mary Ann Liebert | comparison of A. aegypti (left) and A. albopictus (right), their difference is seen in their foreheads

A. aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, and native to sub-Saharan Africa, has also made its way to other continents by similar means. These two are the most invasive species ever. Their damages include diseases like malariachikungunya, yellow fever, dengue, and the infamous zika virus. Each of these diseases is an industry of its own, costing over billions of dollars each year.

Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito before? Like duh!

Let us know which species you think should have made the list.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Jan 13, 2021.

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