Unwanted Aliens Among Us!
Two Invasive Partners in Crime
By Ella Mayzes-Kotulla
What are Invasive Species?
Some reasons how Invasive Species get into an Ecosystem?
- Ships: ships can carry aquatic organisms in the water
- Wood and Wood products; Insects can be in wood, and palettes, and crates. In ships, cars, and airplanes. Then become invasive species
- Pet trade; some invasive species are released on purpose by owners that traveled with them
What Impacts do they have on an Ecosystem?
What are the wanted Invasive Species?
How to Identify these Criminals
Purple Loosestrife is an erect, perennial herb. This plant grows from 0.5 to 3 meters tall. Their size depends on their habitat conditions. Purple Loosestrifes have square wooded stems, unlike most stems. They also have opposite or whorled leaves which are mainly lance-shaped and are stalkless. The leaves of the Purple Loosestrife are 3 to 10 cm in size. The leaves at the bottom are heart shaped. Upper sections of the Purple Loosestrife are generally covered with short hairs. They have 5-7 petal flowers.
If you see one of these invasive species, please, report it.
How did they get here?
Purple Loosestrife are native to Europe and Asia, and came to North America in the early 1800's. People brought the Purple Loosestrife here for their gardens. It may have also come when ships used rocks for ballast. Since then, the Purple Loosestrife spread across 48 United States, and Canada. Purple Loosestrife was introduced for ornamental and medicinal purposes.
How do They Impact other Species and Humans?
European Starlings can cause some major damage. They can pass their diseases onto livestock and other species. European starlings also raid and eat a lot of crops, and fruits in fields. European Starlings compete with native birds for food and homes.
The damage these species cause will only get worse unless we do something to help!
How or Why do they Spread so Easily?
Purple Loosestrife spreads by seeds and root fragments. The seeds are small and get moved by water, wind, or wildlife, and, of course, humans.
Known Hangouts for these Criminals.
Purple Loosestrife are found in wetlands in the Okanagan. They are found in:
- Wet meadows
- Fresh water stream banks
- Pond edges
What can you do to help Reduce the Population Growth of Purple Loosestrife?
- You can learn how to identify these invasive species so you can report them
- Learn about good times to remove them
- If you cut Purple Loosestrife put them in a sealed garbage bag and throw them in the garbage, do this to eliminate all possible ways of reproduction
- Spray herbicides on them, not pesticides!
- Everyone can report sighting of these plants
What can you do to stop the Population Growth of European Starlings?
- If you see a Starling making a nest remove the nest when the mother flies away
- Shake Starling eggs fast and return them to the nest. This will result with no eggs hatching
- Clean out your nest boxes each year because over time nests will get higher than starlings can pull the occupants in your nests out
- Don't put perches on your nest boxes so European Starlings can't get to the occupants
- You can buy certain traps or join a group that catches European Starlings
- Hunting is also used to stop their spread
- In the past the Government used Purple Loosestrife to control roadside erosion
- One Purple Loosestrife can produce up to 2.5 million seeds
- It is estimated 200 000 wetlands of the U.S are lost annually because of Purple Loosestrifes
European Starlings interesting facts:
- They are very strong flyers, they can fly at 48 mph
- The oldest Starling recorded was wild and was 15 years and 9 months old
- A female European Starling may lay an egg in the nest of another female
- Scientists found they can taste salt, sugar, tannins, and citric acid
- Starlings have great vocal mimics, they can learn up to 20 different specie noises
- Today more than 200 millions starlings range from Alaska to Mexico