Breeding populations of bark beetle tree pest identified in Kent

Members are advised that several new breeding populations of the eight-toothed spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus, have been identified in Kent.

Defra, Forestry Commission and the Animal and Plant Health Agency are increasing surveillance activity in the area and immediate action is being taken to support steps toward eradication and minimise the risk of onward spread.

The findings were confirmed following routine plant health surveillance which was expanded following a previous finding in 2018. That initial outbreak site has been subject to intensive eradication action over the last three years and all indications are that these efforts have been successful. It is unlikely that this and the new outbreaks are related – evidence suggests they result from separate incursion events. On 9 July, three further outbreaks were confirmed, also in Kent.

After the previous outbreak was discovered in 2018, a demarcated area was put in place and will remain in place covering parts of Kent and Sussex. This area will be extended to help prevent the spread and will mean additional movement restrictions will apply on conifer materials capable of spreading the pest.

Members are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspect sightings through Tree Alert. The Institute will stay on top of updates through our membership of the Defra Tree Health Policy Group and links with the Forestry Commission.

Find out more here.


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