Pest infestations, at best, can prove a major inconvenience and possible health threat. However, sometimes, a bug swarm can snowball into what feels like a full-on plague, wreaking havoc on everything and everyone in its path. Here are 10 examples in history where pests banded together to make life absolutely miserable for anyone around them.
Spindle Ermine Moth Caterpillars have voracious appetites and can devour pretty much anything they come across. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that in 2009, these hungry little crawlers not only consumed a tree in Rotterdam, Holland, but they also wandered over to an adjacent car park where they basically slimed an entire vehicle with their large silk webs. Yuck.
Yes, really. In 2011, a bank manager in Lucknow, India discovered that a swarm of hungry termites had gobbled up a small fortune ($222,000 to be exact) in paper currency that was stored in a steel chest.
In 2006, Alabama residents began to notice enormous yellow jacket nests popping up, well, everywhere. Barns, buildings, and entire cars were encased with nests from “super-colonies.” Since then, the yellow giants have expanded their territory, spreading into Florida and South Carolina.
Asian giant hornets not only fly at 25 mph, but their stings can also shut down vital organs and break down skin tissue with fatal consequences. In 2013, a giant hornet swarm in China attacked and killed 42 people.
Midges are aquatic insects that generally aren’t harmful to humans. However, in 2011 Iowa’s field flooding conditions created the perfect breeding grounds for a swarm of midges so mighty it was dubbed a “bugnado.” The roads in Iowa were so slick by the piles of dead bug bodies that it actually made the streets unsafe for drivers.
Named after Tom Raspberry, the Houston exterminator who discovered them, raspberry crazy ants can eat through and destroy virtually everything come across. It’s believed these bugs arrived in the Southwest from South America in the 1930’s. In recent years they’ve been tearing through the Houston region eating everything from laptops to electrical systems.
Cicadas spend roughly 13-17 years in wingless form underground waiting for the soil to reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit – and then they emerge in full force. Once they hit the surface, swarms of these bugs loudly plague the skies and trees for a few weeks until they die, beginning the 13-17 year cycle once again.
It’s believed that international travelers brought bedbugs back to New York City in 2010. Once they arrived in the Big Apple, they never wanted to leave, swarming residential homes, public stores, and even movie theaters.
Climate change can have a significant impact on the bugs around us. Case in point: Albuquerque, NM was recently the victim of several hot, dry winters that left the grasshopper egg population virtually untouched. The result? Once the eggs hatched, the swarms of grasshoppers formed a cloud so dense it actually looked like rain and was visible on radar.
Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance. A single sting from these pests can carry a multitude of sicknesses and diseases. In 1980, a Texas farmer witnessed firsthand the damage that an infestation of these parasites can bring. A saltwater flood allowed billions of dormant eggs to hatch – and they hatched hungry. The bugs attacked the farmer’s ranch, killing his animals with millions of bites.
Cramer Pest Control creates customized pest programs to eliminate pest swarms and infestations.