From the West Nile virus and Yosemite Hantavirus outbreaks to Lyme disease and the plague, it could be argued that 2012 was the year of pest-related infectious diseases. But, there were also some weird and wacky pest stories that grabbed headlines over the past twelve months. Here’s the list of the top five pest stories of 2012, as ranked by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA):
West Nile Virus (WNV) Outbreak: The mosquito-borne WNV outbreak became the second-worst in the history of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 5,387 cases of WNV disease in people, including 243 deaths in 2012.
Hantavirus and the Plague: Ten people fell ill and three died from exposure to deer mice infected with Hantavirus after staying in tent cabins at Yosemite National Park. A Colorado girl was also infected with the Bubonic Plague, a rare disease that wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century.
Acorn Crop Boosts Ticks: This spring, the tick season was heavier than in previous years due to an increase in 2010’s acorn crop and a decrease in the white-footed mouse population this year. These strange events forced many ticks to find new warm-blooded hosts – humans, which caused a surge in Lyme disease.
Spider Calls Woman’s Ear Home: One of the strangest and most unusual stories of 2012 has to do with a spider that was recently removed from a woman’s ear canal after doctors found it living inside for five days.
Termite Species Re-Identified: An aggressive termite species was recently re-identified in Broward County, Fla. Native to the Caribbean, tree termites — once thought to have been eradicated in the United States — can cause widespread property damage in a short period of time. This species is being carefully watched by experts because it’s difficult to control with existing treatment methods.
For more pest news or to locate a qualified pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.