A warning has been issued in the UK after an outbreak of the spruce bark beetle. These eight toothed pests are known to destroy conifer Christmas trees such as spruce, pine and fir. The outbreak was founded in several locations in the Ashford, Kent area. They are not known to affect human health.
Restrictions have been put in place on site of the areas affected to minimise the risk of spreading the insect. Land owners, garden centres and the forest industry have been urged to remain vigilant.
Luckily, it is far less likely to ravage the Christmas tree in your home, as they prefer the larger outdoor versions. At this time of year, the adult beetles will be dormant and hibernating.
The UK Chief Plant Health Officer has said “We are taking swift and robust action to limit the spread of this outbreak as part of our well-established biosecurity protocol used for tree pests and diseases. I encourage anyone who suspects a sighting of the bark beetle to report these to the Forestry Commission on the Tree Alert portal. ”