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Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Battle Against Beetle Threat

31 July 2013

Tree health authorities have appealed to the public to be on the alert during August and September for two species of beetle that have the potential to damage a wide variety of trees and shrubs.

The Forestry Commission has called on people to be on the lookout for the Asian longhorn and citrus longhorn species, which the independent Tree Health and Plant Biodiversity Expert Taskforce claim represent a major threat to UK woodlands and plants.

Imported wooden packaging material is said to be the most likely way the insects are being accidentally introduced into the UK, with workers at places which might have received deliveries of tree and shrub plants from Asia, or goods in wooden crates, urged to be particularly vigilant.

The two species are very similar to each other and fairly easy to recognise, with the summer months said to be the best time to spot the large black and white beetles as they emerge from trunks and branches, spread to other trees, and lay eggs.

Dr John Morgan, Head of the Forestry Commission’s Plant Health Service, commented:

“There are strict controls in place to protect the UK against accidental introductions of these pests, but we need to back these up with constant vigilance and reporting of suspected cases. These beetles could threaten a wide range of ornamental, fruit and woodland trees, and the public and trade have a vital role to play in protecting our trees.”

Anyone who finds one of the beetles should isolate them if possible, in a sealed glass jar, before contacting the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate on 01904 465625 or planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk.

For further information, please visit the Forestry Commission website

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