Larvae in a subject in Kent have been confirmed as Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata).
That is the primary time an outbreak of the beetle has been confirmed within the UK since 1977 – though they’re endemic in massive components of Europe.
If not eradicated, these beetles are a big risk to potato crops. The grownup beetles and larvae feed on the foliage of potato and different crops within the nightshade household and may utterly strip them of their leaves if they’re left uncontrolled.
The Division for Atmosphere, Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Well being Company (APHA) are subsequently urging growers, farmers, processors and the general public to be vigilant.
Nevertheless, Colorado potato beetles aren’t a risk to human or animal well being.
The APHA, which made the affirmation following laboratory analysis of samples taken, is working carefully with the affected grower to eradicate the pest from the positioning in Kent.
This consists of performing a 1km survey to find out whether or not there are additional instances past the instantly infested space.
“We’re responding swiftly by means of our eradication programme, involving floor surveillance to search for beetles and larvae on the outbreak web site and surrounding space,” UK Chief Plant Well being Officer Nicola Spence mentioned.
“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.”
Colorado potato beetles are vibrant yellow or orange with black stripes and are often 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.
It was first recorded in 1811 within the US. The beetle has since unfold throughout the US, and moved into Canada, Central America, Europe and Asia.
In line with Defra and the APHA, they’re sometimes imported into the UK from continental Europe as ‘hitchhikers’ on non-host plant materials, resembling leafy greens, salad leaves, recent 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 had been eradicated shortly after detection.