Asian longhorn beetle

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Asian longhorn beetle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Asian longhorn beetles are also known as the starry sky beetle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Originally from China, this beetle poses a serious threat to a wide range of our native broadleaved trees.

What are Asian longhorn beetles?

Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a native of China and the Korean peninsula but as the climate warms it is possible that it could gain a foothold in the south of England.

This distinctive large beetle (about 20-40 mm long and shiny black with variable white markings) was first spotted in England in March 2012 in the Paddock Wood area near Maidstone in Kent. This was a breeding population that had been introduced on wood packaging material that was used to import slate from China.

Rapid action was taken by FERA and 2166 host trees were removed and no further sightings of the beetle have been confirmed since. Surveillance has been increased at ports since this outbreak but vigilance needs to be maintained because this beetle would prove extremely damaging to many of our deciduous species.

Symptoms

  • Circular exit holes of around 1cm in diameter usually found in the main trunk
  • Piles of sawdust-like droppings at the base of infested trees
  • Scraped bark
  • Sap bleeding
  • Feeding damage on the bark of smaller branches and shoots

Control

  • All infested trees and potentially infested trees within a 100m zone must be felled
  • All felled trees must be incinerated
  • Residents within 2km buffer zone put on high alert

Outlook

  • The initial outbreak appears to have been contained
  • Surveillance has been increased at UK ports but vigilance needs to be maintained because this beetle would prove extremely damaging to many of our deciduous species
  • Beetle has already caused extensive damage in the USA and Italy

Report it

If you think you’ve spotted this disease please inform the Forestry Commission using the Tree Alert reporting tool. Three good-quality digital photographs are required to aid identification.

For more information visit the Forestry Commission.

Trees face huge challenges

With more new pests and diseases reaching our shores tackling pests and diseases is now an urgent priority

Learn about the threats