Ecologists have estimated that invasive (non-native) insects cost humanity tens of billions of dollars a year – and are likely to increase under climate change and growing international trade.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia and CNRS and Paris-Sud University in France have compiled the first comprehensive and robust database of the global economic costs of invasive insects ─ but say estimates are likely to be greatly under-estimated because of the lack of research into costs in many parts of the world.
Previous estimates have been “spatially incomplete and of questionable quality”.
Published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report a minimum US$70billion a year cost globally to goods and services, and more than US$6.9 billion a year on health costs of invasive insects.
“Most of the damage to human industry occurs in agriculture and forestry ─ damage and loss of production but also costs of clean-up, eradication and prevention,” says Professor Corey Bradshaw, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. “But billions of dollars are spent on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases like dengue, West Nile virus and chikungunya disease spread by insects that have invaded other countries.”
Among the costly insects are the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) transported worldwide from eastern Asia and capable of consuming as much as 400 g of wood a day, and the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), of Eurasian origin, which is one of the most destructive pests of hardwood trees.
The researchers report that these costs are probably just “the tip of the largely unseen and unmeasured iceberg” because many regions of the world, such as Africa and South America, have yet to measure and estimate many of these costs.
Correcting for minimal sampling bias could bring total annual global costs of invasive insects as high as US$270 billion.
“Ultimately, the average citizen pays for most of these costs, but we can generally reduce the costliest sorts of damage by investing in better detection and early eradication measures,” says Professor Bradshaw.
The researchers say that costs are also likely to increase.
“There are two main phenomena leading to an increased frequency of introductions and potentially expanding distributions of the costliest insect invaders: international trade and global warming,” says Dr Franck Courchamp, Senior CNRS Researcher at Systematic Ecology and Evolution Laboratory (CNRS/Paris-Sud University/AgroParisTech).
“In addition to improving guidelines for estimating the full costs of invasive insects, vigilant planning, public-awareness campaigns and community participation could potentially relieve society of billions of dollars of annual expense, and reduce a great deal of human suffering.”
The research was supported by Foundation BNP Paribas, ANR InvaCost and the Australian Research Council.
Professor Corey Bradshaw, University of Adelaide, Mobile: +61 (0) 400 697 665, email@example.com
Dr Franck Courchamp, CNRS, Mobile: +33 16915 5685, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robyn Mills, Media Officer, Phone: +61 8 8313 6341, Mobile: +61 (0)410 689 084, email@example.com
Robyn Mills | newswise
Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine