Postcard from... Bonn
Chainsaws and sniffer dogs are the most effective weapons in a vicious war currently being fought in a leafy suburb of Bonn, the city on the river Rhine once famous for being West Germany's political capital.
An army of local authority workers has been hard at work chopping down scores of the city's resplendent maple trees and taking the felled wood to a giant municipal incinerator where it is burned immediately. Over 150 trees have been chopped down so far and many more are certain to follow.
The draconian measures are an attempt to stem an invasion of Asian long-horned beetles – a tree-destroying species considered one of the most voracious in the world. The beetles, which originate in the Far East, eat up trees from the inside. Any tree discovered with their larvae nestling in its bark is considered as good as dead.
In Bonn, special sniffer dogs have even been trained to locate infected trees. The city's environmental experts say wiping out the invaders is the only way to get a grip on the problem.
As a result, hundreds of healthy maple trees are being felled in an attempt to stop the invasion spreading. But many residents are nonplussed. "It's not easy to explain to people that we have to chop down healthy trees to protect the trees," Reiner Schrage, the area's chief forestry inspector, says.
The beetles are thought to have come from a nearby factory that has been importing goods from China since 2005. Central Bonn is renowned for its tree-lined avenues and Mr Schrage warns of a " dramatic outcome" if beetles manage to advance that far into the city.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...