13 December 2000
Beetles threaten tracts of moorland

By FWi staff

VAST tracts of moorland are under threat from an insect population explosion triggered by warmer weather, reports The Times.

Rising numbers of small heather beetles, Lochmaea suturalis, are devastating upland farming by eating huge areas of heather in northern Britain.

Infestations have been reported in the South Pennines, the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and the Borders.

According to latest figures from government countryside advisors English Nature, up to a quarter of the 670,000 acres of moorland is affected.