Foreign pests invade village gardens
NATURE is biting back in Bucks as concerned gardeners and horticulturists have noticed a rise in the number of invasive pests in their villages.
Flora and fauna native to Asia, which wreak havoc on an English ecosystem not used to them, have been spotted in a number of villages in the county.
Destructive box tree caterpillars and invasive Japanese knotweed have both been seen in Stoke Poges and Prestwood respectively.
Recent sightings of the caterpillars come only a year after the insects were thought to have been eradicated from Bucks, leaving gardeners with box trees in their gardens worried.
The caterpillars are the larvae of the box tree moth, native to countries such as Japan and China and are known to decimate box trees, having no known predator in this country after being introduced accidentally.
They were first seen in Basel, Switzerland, 10 years ago before making their way across Europe.
They were first spotted in England in 2011.
Caterpillars cause severe defoliation of box trees or hedges as they are aggressive eaters with large appetites.
Naomi Arnold, of Freemans Close, said this current infestation is making her ‘pretty sick’ and added: “Where they’re coming from I don’t know.
“I can’t believe I can be the only one.”
Speaking during the last invasion, Dr Andrew Salisbury, senior entomologist at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “Control of the caterpillars can be achieved by removal by hand where practical.
“For more extensive infestations, it may be necessary to use an insecticide, such as products containing pyrethrum (Py Spray Garden Insect Killer), lambdacyhalothrin (Westland Resolva Bug Killer) or deltamethrin (Bayer Sprayday Greenfly Killer).”
More information on this moth can be found at http:// www.rhs.org.uk/advice/ profile?pid=760.
It was also brought to this paper’s attention that Japanese knotweed has been spotted growing outside the Chequers Pub, High Street, Prestwood.
We have been unable to reach the pub for comment as we go to press but the herbaceous plant, native to Japan and China, has been classed as an invasive species.
It has a root system which can damage property, including concrete foundations, retaining walls and roads, and impacts on flooding management and biodiversity.
If you have seen any invasive species in Bucks, please write to the letters page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPREADING: Japanese knotweed