Massive yet grossly underestimated global costs of invasive insects

Corey Bradshaw, Leroy Boris, Celine Ballard, David Roiz, Celine Albert, Alice Fournier, Morgane Barbet-Massin, Jean-Michel Salles, Frederic Simard, Franck Courchamp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    160 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Insects have presented human society with some of its greatest development challenges by spreading diseases, consuming crops and damaging infrastructure. Despite the massive human and financial toll of invasive insects, cost estimates of their impacts remain sporadic, spatially incomplete and of questionable quality. Here we compile a comprehensive database of economic costs of invasive insects. Taking all reported goods and service estimates, invasive insects cost a minimum of US$70.0 billion per year globally, while associated health costs exceed US$6.9 billion per year. Total costs rise as the number of estimate increases, although many of the worst costs have already been estimated (especially those related to human health). A lack of dedicated studies, especially for reproducible goods and service estimates, implies gross underestimation of global costs. Global warming as a consequence of climate change, rising human population densities and intensifying international trade will allow these costly insects to spread into new areas, but substantial savings could be achieved by increasing surveillance, containment and public awareness.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12986
    Number of pages8
    JournalNature Communications
    Volume7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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  • Cite this

    Bradshaw, C., Boris, L., Ballard, C., Roiz, D., Albert, C., Fournier, A., Barbet-Massin, M., Salles, J-M., Simard, F., & Courchamp, F. (2016). Massive yet grossly underestimated global costs of invasive insects. Nature Communications, 7, [12986]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12986