Colorado potato beetle larvae has been present in Kent for a second time, the Division for Atmosphere, Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Well being Company (APHA) has confirmed.
On Friday, August 11, a single grownup male Colorado beetle was discovered throughout the 1km surveillance zone in Kent.
This discovering follows beetle larvae which was recognized in a area in Kent in mid-July.
If the pest is just not eradicated, it might pose a “important risk to potato crops”, Defra mentioned.
“The grownup beetles and larvae feed on the foliage of potato and different crops within the nightshade household and may fully strip them of their leaves if they’re left uncontrolled. Nevertheless, they aren’t a risk to human or animal well being,” it mentioned.
No extra colony has been detected and, given the estimated age of the beetle, the division has mentioned it doubtless “dispersed from the unique website”.
Defra and APHA mentioned surveillance for any potential undetected colonies will proceed throughout the 1km surveillance zone.
The UK’s chief plant well being officer, Nicola Spence, mentioned: “Following a report, our specialists have recognized the presence of Colorado beetle larvae in a potato area in Kent.
“We’re responding swiftly by means of our eradication programme, involving floor surveillance to search for beetles and larvae on the outbreak website and surrounding space.
“While this pest doesn’t pose a risk to human well being, we encourage all growers, farmers, processors and the general public to stay vigilant and report any sightings, particularly in Kent.”
Affirmation that the beetle was a Colorado potato beetle was made following laboratory analysis of samples taken by APHA’s plant well being and seeds inspectorate.
Colorado potato beetle
That is the primary time an outbreak of the Colorado potato beetle has been confirmed within the UK since 1977.
Farmers and growers are being inspired to stay vigilant for indicators of the beetle.
It’s brilliant yellow or orange with black stripes and is normally between 8.5-11.5mm in size and 3mm in width. Its larvae are a reddish brown in color, spherical and globular, and as much as 15mm in size.
Defra mentioned the beetles are often imported into the UK from continental Europe as “hitchhikers” on non-host plant materials, like leafy greens, salad leaves, contemporary herbs and grain.
Previously 70 years, there have been two outbreaks of Colorado potato beetles within the UK, one in 1976 and one in 1977. Each outbreaks have been eradicated shortly after detection.