Citrus longhorn beetle poses a threat

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Garden enthusiasts have been asked to be on the lookout for a foreign species of beetle which may pose a major threat to UK plant life.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the citrus longhorn beetle can be identified by its black colour with white speckles on its back.

Measuring around an inch in length, the adults have antennae that are up to twice the size of their bodies.

The insects lay their larvae in the trunks of trees and shrubs, which then feeds off the plant's vascular system, causing it to weaken.

They have already caused sufficient problems in Italy, France and The Netherlands that the European Union has suspended imports of Japanese maples from China as it is believed that the species uses ornamental trees to hitch a ride across continents.

Any gardener who manages to find and trap one of the beetles is being asked to report it to the Food and Environmental Research Agency.

Meanwhile, the RHS has also reminded gardeners that their plants might require extra watering during June.

Posted by David Webb   - 18 June 2010
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Citrus longhorn beetle poses a threat

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