Exotic beetle which attacks trees found in Kent


An outbreak of the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), an exotic beetle pest which could have severe consequences for British trees, has been found in Kent.

 This is the first time an outbreak has been found in the UK. Fera and the Forestry Commission are taking urgent steps to try to eradicate the outbreak before it has the chance to spread.

 Several larvae of the beetle have been found inside a poplar tree during a routine survey by the Forestry Commission at a site in the Paddock Wood area. It is thought the beetles originated from wood packaging from China.

 The beetle is not native to the UK, and poses a serious threat to a very wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs such as maple (including sycamore), elm, horse chestnut, willow, poplar, birch and some fruit trees.

 Adult beetles are around 20-40mm ( inch to 1 inches) long, shiny black with variable white markings. Their antennae are up to twice the body length and black with white/light blue bands. The larvae of the beetle feed undetected on the inside of the plant and can kill it or leave it weakened and susceptible to further pest and disease damage.

 Symptoms of ALB damage are circular exit holes around 10mm in diameter, found in the main trunk and branches. The adult beetles usually emerge from these holes between May and October.

 If anyone suspects they have seen an Asian longhorn beetle, or evidence of its presence please contact the Fera Plant Health Helpline 0844 2480071, or e-mail planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk. or view www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/plantHealth/pestsDiseases/clb/clbVideo.cfm

If possible, the beetle should be caught and placed in a secure container so it can be collected. The beetles are not harmful to humans, but they can nip.