Spruce tree bee­tles are dis­cov­ered in Kent woods

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY RYAN HOOPER

AN out­break of in­sects known to tar­get a par­tic­u­lar type of tree has been dis­cov­ered at sev­eral wood­land sites in Eng­land.

The eight-toothed spruce bark bee­tle was de­tected at a num­ber of un­named lo­ca­tions in Kent and con­firmed by the UK Chief Plant Health Of­fi­cer.

While the pest does not af­fect hu­man health, it can be a se­ri­ous and de­struc­tive pest of the spruce tree species across Europe, al­though it gen­er­ally prefers weak­ened or dam­aged trees.

It has never been dis­cov­ered in the wider en­vi­ron­ment in the UK be­fore, the Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (De­fra) said.

Smaller spruce trees, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic Christ­mas trees, are too small to be sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fes­ta­tion and very un­likely to be af­fected by this finding.

The for­est in­dus­try and tree nurs­eries which sup­ply ma­ture conifer spec­i­mens are be­ing urged to re­main vig­i­lant af­ter the Forestry Com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied a breed­ing pop­u­la­tion dur­ing rou­tine checks.

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