The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle is considered a serious pest on spruce trees in Europe. In England it was first found in Kent in 2018, and since then over 750 sites covering 13 square miles have been surveyed by the Forestry Commission. Fortunately, only 6% of these have returned positive identification of infestation and breeding galleries.
Whilst it was believed the pest was accidentally introduced via imported wood or wood packaging, more recent research suggests the beetle has the ability to naturally disperse across the channel.
To protect the country against this pest, the Forestry Commission has introduced a Notice to demarcate an area around the confirmed outbreak sites restricting the movement and methods of forest operations. This demarcated area covers parts of Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, City and County of the City of London, Greater London, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent and Essex.
Whilst only landowners and timber processors are likely to be affected by the current restrictions on the movement of material and operations, the establishment of the pest in Great Britain is likely to affect a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Landscape professionals are urged to remain vigilant for signs of the pest and report suspected sightings anywhere in Great Britain using the Tree Alert Form.
For more information:
British Association of Landscape Industries