These five invasive insects destroy SC the most. Here are the best ways to combat them

South Carolina is no stranger to insects of all kinds. By late spring and early summer, the little critters of all shapes and sizes will make their presence known in the Palmetto State.

But while many insects can be annoying, some are much worse than others and can even be destructive. Then there are those who are not from South Carolina and as such have wreaked havoc on the state’s ecosystem and homes.

South Carolina has become home to several invasive insect species over the years. Here are five of the worst, along with recommendations on how best to combat them.

Japanese Beetle

As the name suggests, the Japanese beetle is native to Japan, but was brought to the U.S. more than a century ago, states the Clemson Cooperative Extension. The insect is about half an inch long and has a bronze body with metallic green wings.

Japanese beetles found in the Lower Yakima Valley threaten more than 300 plants, including roses, grapes, apples, hops and lawn grass.Japanese beetles found in the Lower Yakima Valley threaten more than 300 plants, including roses, grapes, apples, hops and lawn grass.

Japanese beetles found in the Lower Yakima Valley threaten more than 300 plants, including roses, grapes, apples, hops and lawn grass.

The beetle feeds on the leaves, flowers and fruits of more than 300 plant species, which is why the insect is considered so destructive.

“Damage from feeding can completely defoliate plants, making trees and shrubs look as if they are nearly dead,” says Clemson Cooperative Extension.”

Control of the contamination

Clemson notes that options are unfortunately limited regarding Japanese beetle control.

  • If populations are low or you don’t have many susceptible plants, hand pick the adults once or twice a day.

  • In some cases, a mesh layer can be used as a physical barrier, but if you have plants such as fruit trees that need pollination, the mesh will also prevent pollinators from reaching them.

  • Insecticides are the most effective way to control Japanese beetles and several types will work, such as formulations containing imidacloprid and dinotefuran.

Emerald Ash Borer

Since this pest was first identified in the U.S. in 2002, it has been responsible for the destruction of millions of ash trees in 30 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It probably came from its home country Asia in wooden packaging material.

The small, metallic green insect was found in South Carolina in August 2017 and is now in multiple counties.

Emerald ash borerEmerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer

Control of the contamination

  • There are several insecticides that are effective in controlling these insects. Residents should consider applying insecticides to high-value trees before infesting them.

  • Insecticides including dinotefuran, emamectin benzoate, azadirachtin and imidacloprid can be applied in various ways, including at the base of the tree, as a trunk spray or trunk injection.

  • Severely infested trees probably cannot be saved and must be removed.

Kudzu bug

The kudzu bug is a relatively recent invader from South Carolina, first discovered in 2009. The disease is native to Asia and was likely introduced into the U.S. via imported goods. The kudzu bug is about 1.5 inches long and appears almost square in shape with an olive green hue, states Clemson Cooperative Extension.

The kudzu bug is a type of stink bug that is an invasive soybean pest.The kudzu bug is a type of stink bug that is an invasive soybean pest.

The kudzu bug is a type of stink bug that is an invasive soybean pest.

The insect feeds on kudzu, another invasive species in the state. However, the insect also feeds on soybeans and other crops. The insect can also pose a problem in and around structures. Their body secretions produce a foul odor and can stain fabrics and wall coverings. And touching it directly can cause spots on the skin and even blisters in some people.

Control of the contamination

  • Cutting back nearby kudzu patches before fall should help reduce kudzu insects around your home as they look for sheltered locations for the winter.

  • Seal as many cracks in structures as possible to prevent kudzu insects from entering.

  • Large numbers of kudzu insects found in a structure should be vacuumed up and not sprayed. Also avoid crushing them so that the secretions don’t stain fabrics and wall coverings.

  • Most insecticides will kill kudzu insects. If you spray vegetation, make sure you use a product labeled for treating plants.

Brown marbled stink bug

The brown marmorated stink bug is also a relative newcomer to South Carolina. The disease was first discovered in 2011 and has since spread across the state. The species is native to Asia and likely came to the U.S. via a shipping container in the 1990s, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

These insects have a brownish-gray underside, rounded edges on their “shoulders” behind the head, and a thin attachment of the mouthpart to the front of the head. There are black and white bands on their antennae.

Here's what you need to know about keeping the brown marmorated stink bug away from your Illinois home this fall.Here's what you need to know about keeping the brown marmorated stink bug away from your Illinois home this fall.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping the brown marmorated stink bug away from your Illinois home this fall.

The insect has been a major pest in South Carolina and feeds on a wide range of plants, including fruit trees, vegetables and ornamental varieties. They also like to invade houses during the winter months.

Control of the contamination

  • Use winter stripping or other sealants to reduce small gaps around doors and windows.

  • Check that the window shield is intact and fits properly.

  • Check plumbing fixtures and areas where cables and electrical lines enter the building.

  • Make sure the dampers on chimneys fit properly in the closed position.

  • If there is a large infestation outdoors, regular insecticide is an option. Apply it to entry points in the home, as well as around cracks and crevices.

Formosan subterranean termite

The formosan termite was first discovered in South Carolina in the 1950s and has spread to other parts of the state in recent years. Formosan termites can be particularly destructive as their colonies are typically larger than native species. They eat cellulose from wood, so they can cause major damage to homes and other structures, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension.

Formosan subterranean termites, commonly Formosan subterranean termites, commonly

Formosan subterranean termites, commonly called “super termites” or my scientific name Coptotermes formosanus

Formosan termites have three distinct forms, including the wingless or winged reproductive alates, the protective soldiers and the workers, according to orkin.com. A Formosan soldier’s head is elongated, while native subterranean species have rectangular heads.

The alates or swarmers are yellowish brown and about half an inch long.

Control of the contamination

  • If you suspect a Formosan termite infestation, you should contact a licensed pest professional about control and treatment.

  • Homeowners should consider scheduling annual termite inspections, or at least three to five years.

  • Eliminate Moisture Sources – Reduce humidity in crawl spaces, attics and basements. Direct water away from the home’s foundation to prevent Formosan entry.

  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

  • Allow a 1-inch gap between the ground and the wooden parts of your home.