Invasive and Nuisance Species

Masthead
Media
Bush honeysuckle
Title
Invasive and Nuisance Species
Cards
Body

Plants and animals — both native and nonnative — can sometimes create challenges for property owners and land managers. Explore this section to learn:

  • The difference between invasive species and nuisance species 
  • Why invasive species are especially problematic 
  • How to control and manage Missouri’s most common invasive and nuisance species
Body

What is an "invasive" species? 

Invasive species are aggressive, nonnative species whose presence causes or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy, and/or human health. These species often grow, reproduce, and spread rapidly.

What is a “nuisance” species?

Nuisance species are native to the local landscape but still can cause problems. For instance, poison ivy is native to Missouri but can grow in dense patches that are difficult to pass through and can cause problems for people who are allergic to it. Raccoons are a native species but may become a problem when they repeatedly knock over your trash can or get into your chicken coop. 

What is meant by “aggressive”?

Aggressive species are those that spread rapidly and can outcompete other species. They can be native or nonnative and may be aggressive in some situations, but not others. They are termed “aggressive” because they can often take over and push other species out of an area. Examples include Callery pears that become widespread in open grasslands and bush honeysuckles that overrun woodlands. Eastern red cedar is an example of a native tree that can spread aggressively in open areas.

Title
Native vs. Nonnative
Body

Native species occur within a region as the result of natural processes and are adapted to local environmental conditions. They have co-evolved with other native species and are critical to ecosystem functions.

Nonnative species are those introduced to a new place or new type of habitat. Historically, most of these introductions have resulted from human activities. Their presence can often have negative impacts on ecosystems. The words “exotic,” “alien,” and “introduced” are synonyms for “nonnative.”

Title
Featured Topics
Media
Five zebra mussels in the palm of a researcher's hand.
Body

These invasive, fingernail-sized, black-and-white striped "clams" hurt Missouri's waters. Learn how to avoid spreading them.

Media
Bush honeysuckle
Body

Invasive bush honeysuckle is a problem for homeowners and native habitats alike. Learn what you can do to stop it from taking over the landscape.

Media
Body

Invasive tree pests are insects and diseases that can cause severe damage to our trees and forests. Learn about some common invasive tree pests and how to identify them.

Title
Invasive Species
Media
feral hog
Media
Wintercreeper
Title
Nuisance Native Species