This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

UK Citrus Longhorn Beetle Search

Citrus Longhorn Beetle

The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are asking for the public's help to find any Citrus Longhorn Beetles (Anoplophora chinensis ) that may be in the UK. The beetle is a quarantine listed pest that could pose a threat to trees in the UK. A small number of adult beetles, believed to be Citrus Longhorns were found emerging from a potted Japanese maple tree in a private garden in Shropshire early in July. One of these beetles was caught, photographed and then released before the beetles' identity was discovered. Last year similar sightings were made in Hampshire and Lancashire.

The Citrus Longhorn Beetle originates in Asia, but it has been moving around the world in internationally traded bonsai and young trees. There is currently an outbreak of this pest in northern Italy. Although predominately a pest of citrus and apples, the beetle can also attack a number of other trees including beech, hazel, oak, maple and birch. The larvae of the beetle are the most damaging. They bore through the trunks, upper roots and branches of host trees leaving them susceptible to wind damage and disease. Later, perhaps two years after the first attack, the larvae will pupate and then emerge in the late summer as adult insects which will quickly seek out new host trees. The females lay their eggs in slits they chew in the bark. The long period between egg laying and adult emergence explains how this pest can be moved from one country to another in young plants.

The beetles are large, 21-37mm long (about 1-1.5 inches), excluding the antennae, and black with variable white markings on their backs. Their antennae (horns) are longer than their bodies and are black with white or light blue coloured bands. Late July to early September is thought to be the time of year when this pest is most likely to be seen. Anyone who spots a beetle that they suspect is a Citrus Longhorn Beetle, should trap it if possible and report the finding to the local office of the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) or the PHSI HQ, York on 01904 455174 as soon as possible.

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Happy Gardening



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