Fears for Britain's trees after Asian beetle discovered
Friday 30 July 2010
Scientists are on the lookout for an Asian beetle that could ravage British trees after one was found last week, the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) said today.
The Citrus Longhorn Beetle was found at a school in Langham, near Oakham, Rutland, Leicestershire, last week.
The beetle, occasionally imported with trees accidentally, devours native broadleaved trees and shrubs and an outbreak could seriously threaten UK horticulture and forestry, Fera said.
A spokesman said scientists are now hunting for the host plant in case there are more in the area, although currently it is only considered a finding and not an outbreak.
He said the beetle was found at Langham Church of England Primary School last Thursday and was identified by scientists on Monday.
They are 20-40mm long, shiny black with white markings and their long, black antennae have pale blue or white rings.
Adults lay eggs just under bark and larvae bore into wood. They take up to four years to grow so are difficult to detect, Fera said today.
The spokesman said a range of deciduous trees and shrubs can be hosts, although all UK findings so far have been on Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).
Derek McCann, from the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate, said: "To rule out the existence of an established colony of this pest we need to look at all possible host plants within a 100 metre radius of the original finding, including private gardens.
"In the meantime we would like to ask members of the public to be on the alert for the beetle and let us know if they find anything."
Fera said two other findings were reported this year by members of the public at Haydock, Merseyside, and Hastings, East Sussex, and both emerged from Acer plants in their back gardens bought two years ago.
The first sign of an infestation is often between May and October when an adult beetle emerges from a hole about 10mm in diameter. The holes may be found just above ground level in stems and roots, and other signs include chewing damage to leaves and bark or sawdust-like debris from the trunk.
Fera today urged members of the public to report suspected sightings or captures to its Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate at 01904 465625 or http://www.defra.gov.uk/fera.
Auction house to give away $1m masterpiece in charity raffle - and tickets are only $100 each
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £100000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fin...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Pre-Sales / Cl...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...