DEFRA is urging people to look out for the quarantine-listed citrus longhorn beetle (Anoplophora chinensis), after a sighting in a private garden in Shropshire early in July.

The pest, which originates in Asia, is moving around the world in internationally traded bonsais and young trees and could pose a threat to UK trees including apple, beech, hazel, oak, maple and birch.

Larvae (grubs) bore into trunks, upper roots and branches of host trees, leaving them susceptible to wind damage and disease. Around two years after the first attack, larvae pupate and emerge in late summer as adult insects.

Similar sightings were made in Hampshire and Lancashire last year.

Citrus longhorn beetle key facts:

  • Beetles are large, 21-37mm long, excluding the antennae, and black with variable white markings on their backs
  • 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
  • If spotted, trap if possible and report to the local Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) office
  • See www.defra.gov.uk/planth/offices.pdf or call the PHSI HQ, York on 01904 455174