Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

CABI Book Chapter

Invasive species and human health.

Book cover for Invasive species and human health.


This book, which consists of 11 chapters, highlights the major impact of invasive alien plants and animals on human health. This includes not only direct effects through contact with the species via bites, wounds and disease, but also indirect effects caused by changes induced in ecosystems by invasive species, such as more water hyacinth increasing mosquito levels and thereby the potential for ma...

Chapter 5 (Page no: 63)

Bugs, ants, wasps, moths and other insect species.

A total of 43 insect species non-native to Europe are so far considered to affect human welfare through their biting, urticating and allergenic properties, or by causing domestic nuisances. They involve several orders. In Hymenoptera, species in two families, Formicidae (ants) and Vespidae (wasps and hornets), are known to cause disturbance and health problems. Several moth species (Lepidoptera) have urticating larvae which may induce painful urticarial and allergic reactions. Bugs in five Hemipteran families have direct impacts on health, such as bed bugs and kissing bugs, which are vectors of pathogens, but most are considered to be household pests, causing nuisances to people when invading houses or aggregating on walls. Several non-native species of cockroaches that develop in synanthropic habitats have body parts, saliva or faeces containing powerful indoor allergens, and they can also facilitate mechanical transmission of pathogens to humans. Some species of Siphonaptera (fleas) and Phthiraptera (lice), which are obligate ectoparasitic insects of warm-blooded animals, are of high importance for human health because they cause itches and skin infection, and transmit major diseases such as bubonic plague and murine typhus.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Poisonous and venomous: marine alien species in the Mediterranean Sea and human health. Author(s): Galil, B.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 16) Invasive alien plant impacts on human health and well-being. Author(s): Lazzaro, L., Essl, F., Lugliè, A., Padedda, B. M., Pyšek, P., Brundu, G.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 34) Human health impact by alien spiders and scorpions. Author(s): Nentwig, W.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 49) Ticks and dust mites: invasive and health-affecting borderline organisms. Author(s): Simoni, S., Grandi, G.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 76) The invasive mosquitoes of medical importance. Author(s): Romi, R., Boccolini, D., Luca, M. di, Medlock, J. M., Schaffner, F., Severini, F., Toma, L.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 91) Invasive freshwater invertebrates and fishes: impacts on human health. Author(s): Souty-Grosset, C., Anastácio, P., Reynolds, J., Tricarico, E.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 108) Risks for human health related to invasive alien reptiles and amphibians. Author(s): Pauwels, O. S. G., Pantchev, N.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 120) Do alien free-ranging birds affect human health? A global summary of known zoonoses. Author(s): Mori, E., Meini, S., Strubbe, D., Ancillotto, L., Sposimo, P., Menchetti, M.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 130) Impact of alien mammals on human health. Author(s): Capizzi, D., Monaco, A., Genovesi, P., Scalera, R., Carnevali, L.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 151) Climate change and increase of impacts on human health by alien species. Author(s): Schindler, S., Rabitsch, W., Essl, F.