Bug’s de­fence is aw­ful smell

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

Iwas shown a very im­pres­sive bug re­cently – a west­ern conifer seed bug. It was at­tracted to one of the moth traps at Dun­geness. One of the rea­sons it was iden­ti­fied quickly was that one had been caught in a moth trap in Hast­ings and posted on the in­ter­net days ear­lier. It is a cor­eid bug which has only just ap­peared in Bri­tain. It comes from North Amer­ica but ap­peared in Italy in 1999, hid­den in im­ported goods. It spread across Europe and is en­joy­ing life this side of the At­lantic as well. It is a big bug and when fly­ing around makes a loud buzzing. It sucks the sap out of the conifer cones. Eggs are laid on the leaf stems and hatch in the spring. One of the de­fences of this crea­ture is to spray a re­ally aw­ful smell from its ab­domen... you have been warned. In North Amer­ica, there is con­cern that the west­ern conifer seed bug dam­ages large tracts of conif­er­ous plan­ta­tions. In the late sum­mer and au­tumn they start mov­ing around looking for sites to over­win­ter, hence the ap­pear­ance of a few on the Rom­ney Marsh in late Au­gust and an­other flurry in the mid­dle of Oc­to­ber. It looks like they are set­tling into this coun­try very nicely.

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