A different type of disturbance is the unintended or accidental introduction of species to new geographic locations or habitats—like insect stowaways in ship cargo. Fortunately, most insects don’t survive a generation when they’re dropped into an alien habitat. However, some become a minor part of their new environment, where they either co-exist or make small impacts beyond human knowledge. I find many non-native insects in our yard—some species having been in the US for over a hundred years.
Occasionally, accidental introductions like Spotted Lantern Flies (SLFs) and the Emerald Ash Borers (EABs), become disruptors with huge economic implications. Such exotic introductions are happening more frequently. In their native environs, these insects co-exist in balance with natural predators. But away from their native habitats, they have no controls and can create explosive populations. In the case of SLFs, their favored host plant (Tree-of-Heaven) is a widespread invasive tree in the US, so reproduction was easy.
Officials responsible for solutions to exterminate or control invading pests have a primary goal to eliminate economic risk. Unfortunately, short-term solutions often cause additional negative consequences. DDT use to control Gypsy (now Spongy) Moths is an unfortunate historical example that birders know well; DDT has toxic effects on birds and their eggs. More recently here in Pennsylvania, people were initially encouraged to tackle SLFs with glue traps and chemically spraying trees, but that resulted in trapping and killing wildlife bycatch, ranging from insects to birds and even mammals.