Insects Creep Out of Asia - And Into Your Backyard?

| Fri Jan. 25, 2008 3:42 PM EST

asian-tiger-mosquito.jpgInvasive species like the Asian tiger mosquito are on the rise in Europe, French researchers recently reported. Nineteen new invasive species made Europe their home every year from 2000 to 2007. (From 1950 to 1975, only about 10 species per year established themselves.)

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Europe is now home to 1,517 non-native species of worms and insects. Only 10% were deliberately introduced, the rest hitching rides on ships or migrating on their own. Most of the unwelcome bugs came from Asia and North America.

Of course, the tales of global warming pushing invasive species to, well, invade are not new. But they are increasing in nearly every corner of the globe. The Asian tiger mosquito (mentioned and pictured above) is invasive to Europe, but also to the U.S. It was first discovered in 1985 breeding in some old tires in Houston, Texas. Within two years, it had expanded its range to 17 states, and now lives in at least 25. It's a carrier of Dengue fever and LaCrosse encephalitis, both of which can be fatal. So slap on that insect repellent this summer and light some Citronella candles—you never know what might be buzzing in your neck of the woods.

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