Alien Species in the United States

ispeakthetruth By ispeakthetruth, 26th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Science

I wrote about some species of insects and plants not native to the United States. Some, like the Japanese Beatles have almost wiped out some of our trees..

Alien Species in the United States

We have so many invading species into our country today. Is it a wonder our food sources are having trouble producing satisfactory crops? Is it a wonder some things get smothered out of existence? From Fire Ants to Killer Bees, we are invaded by little alien species that do not agree with our plant, animal life or ourselves. All can be nuisances. Many are very destructive. Some were brought here intentionally for study or for ornamental purposes. Some came in through cargo shipped in. Nevertheless they are here. We must learn to live with them, how to control them, or completely remove them from our environment. In the following paragraphs, I have chosen two alien species to write about. I have had my own experiences with these. I have also had a few experiences with some of the other alien species. I was to choose only two. I chose the two I have the most experience with.

Alien Species in the United States
I have chosen to write about two alien species that I have seen myself in the South. I have seen the devastation of the Japanese Beatle and I have seen a lot of Kudzu and the effect it has on us. I am originally from Tennessee. I have lived in many places on the Southeastern part of the United States and some places above the Mason Dixon line.

Kudzu was first introduced in the United States in 1876 by the Japanese. It was brought into an exposition in Philadelphia. The Japanese brought an exhibition of an aquatic garden which had the vine in its display. Americans fell in love with the aroma and beauty of the plant. Greenhouse gardeners in Florida discovered that animals would eat it. They started selling it from their nursery and many used it for ornamental growing. The soil conservationists thought to use it to keep soil from eroding. Farmers even got paid to grow it. Little did they all know, this beautiful and sweet scented vine would overtake everything in its path.

I remember seeing a lot of it growing up here in the South. I would see it along highways and in many rural areas. It seems it is not so easy to find now days. I wanted to have a piece of the vine myself, but my father said “No!” It takes over everything. I love growing plants. I have flower and vegetable gardens every year I am able. My father taught me. I have a lot to thank him for. Apparently our climate here is perfect for it to grow, but we don’t have the natural enemies of Kudzu here to control its growth.
In the beginning it was a miracle plant. (The Amazing Story of Kudzu) It soon became a menace. It covered everything. It kept trees from getting important sunlight. It looked like a blanket of green over anything that was stationary long enough for it to grow over it. Since animals seemed to love to consume Kudzu, Dr. Errol G. Rhoden came up with a way to control it with Angora goats. They were to graze in it. This helped produce nice wool and milk for profit. When they consumed most of the Kudzu they were removed temporarily to allow for it to grow back in limited quantities. Herbicides had been tried, but it would take too much time for them to kill the Kudzu.
In time people found many uses for the vines, such as basket making, recipes and the possibilities of medicinal purposes. As of the time of the article I got this information from, it was only useful for mice and hamsters. I can’t imagine an alcoholic mouse or hamster but, alcoholism is used as an example. In this article you will find more links to useful ways to work with Kudzu (The Amazing Story of Kudzu).
I thought some of you who are into herbal remedies, might be interested in the recipe in this article for Kudzu Tea (Kudzu Tea Recipe). I am into herbal remedies myself. I learned many herbal cures from my Cherokee heritage through my parents and people on the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina.
The Japanese Beatle is a well known pest here in the South. (On Earth, The Tennessee Tree Massacre) It seems to be destroying a lot of our beautiful trees. A lot of our pine tree population is dwindling. This insect has no natural enemies here. Someone had it in a nursery in New Jersey over 80 years ago. Apparently they thought to bring it from Japan. For what reason would they do this? Did they just like to collect insects? I used to study insects when I was a child. I liked the large spiders I would catch in Vero Beach Florida. This was much to the dismay of my mother. Can you imagine?

This insect had reached 22 states by 1972. This small insect has destroyed a lot of our natural resources, such as lawns, trees, vines, and many more beauties of nature. We hardly see our beloved pines any more. There used to be a lot of them here where I live. The Beatles have been blamed for their destruction. I would see the devastation myself. Could this be what eats up my squash plants from the roots up? I was told it was a grub worm. I am sure it is the Japanese Beatle in the larva stage. I don’t use poisons in my vegetable garden. I use ground cayenne pepper and mild dish washing liquid diluted with water. I dust the plants with the pepper and dispense the dish washing liquid and water with a sprayer.
I would love to get more than a couple of zucchinis, eggplants, or yellow squash from each plant I grow. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers this program. I have used the concept of the sex lure. Once I bought a few of the bags with the lure inside it from a local farmer’s Co-op. It caught so many of them I couldn’t believe it. I had five bags. I would pour them into a bucket of water and drown the suckers. I didn’t know it was considered a part of the program which is mentioned in this article. There were still more of them. Boy those things stink when they are dead. According to this article we have a Beatle problem here. You think? I guess I will stock up on the traps again for this coming spring. I don’t want to use pesticides. I might endanger some other species of insect that is beneficial. I like the Lady Bugs. The only thing about Lady Bugs I don’t like is they overcrowd me in the house. Before cold weather starts, they fly in every time I open the door. They seem to love to hibernate in my attic. They also stink when they die. I don’t kill them. This just happens.
I need to get some Nematodes to kill the grub worms. This is one method of controlling the Japanese Beatle during the larva stage (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). I think I’ll ask about them at the co-op. The Nematodes put bacteria in the grub worm that kills them. Hopefully nothing adverse will happen from using them.
The Japanese Beatle consumes plant life until all you see are the skeletal remains. (Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet) The grass feels spongy in places in the yard. It makes you think you need to water it. I never knew the grubs were the culprits of this symptom. I don’t like these plant eating insects at all. As this article states, it is around June when you will start noticing the Japanese Beatles in the adult stage. Again I want to get the traps for next spring. I will catch these things during the mating season.

There are various methods of controlling the population of the Japanese Beatle. Here I name two cultural defenses against the Beatle.
1. They can be quarantined, captured and destroyed when it is suspected they have breached a certain area (United States Department of Agriculture) by being transported accidentally in cargo.
2. You can try and not plant trees or other plants that attract the Beatle to the area you wish to be free of them.
There are also Biological means of controlling the Beatle population
3. An imported insect parasite known as Tiphia is known in the south for helping to reduce the numbers of Japanese Beatles.
4. As mentioned earlier, Nematodes can be used. The method I used with traps is also mentioned.

The method I do not wish to use is also mentioned to control the population of Japanese Beatles. Pesticides are not my preferred method. Another method of ridding yourself of these pests is to shake the plants they are on around 7 in the morning. You will find these little devils sleepy. (University of Kentucky College of Agriculture) Have a bucket of soapy water lying in wait for them to drown.
I will beat those little boogers next year! I will put the traps up on the hill away from my precious plants before they get the chance to eat them. I run across some very interesting and useful information doing research for my classes. I couldn’t resist writing so much. I hope I didn’t bore you.


Kudzu Tea Recipe, retrieved from site October 5, 2008
On Earth, The Tennessee Tree Massacre, retrieved from site October 9, 2008 The Amazing Story of Kudzu, retrieved from site October 5, 2008
The Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, retrieved from site October 5, 2008
United States Department of Agriculture, retrieved from site October 5, 2008
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, retrieved from site October 5, 2008
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, retrieved from site October 5, 2008


Alien, Alien Species, Insect, Insect Armageddon, Insect Repellant, Insect World, Insecticide, Insecticides, Insectide, Insects, Natural Remedies, Nature, Species

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author avatar ispeakthetruth
I have been writing articles on the Internet for a few years now. I also tutor students in academics. I enjoy speaking my mind.

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author avatar Ptrikha
29th Oct 2013 (#)

Interesting research!

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author avatar ispeakthetruth
29th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks Ptrikha. It was an essay I did in college.

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