British gardens under threat from beetle

A species of beetle not native to the UK could soon cause serious problems for garden and greenhouse enthusiasts.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the citrus longhorn beetle lays its larvae inside the trunks of trees and shrubs, weakening them by feeding off their vascular system.

The species has already caused enough concern in Italy, France and The Netherlands that the EU has put a ban on imports of Japanese maples from China.

It is believed that the insects may have reached the UK by piggybacking on trees from the Far East and growers are being asked to stay on the lookout for them.

If possible, the Food and Environmental Research Agency would like gardeners to trap any citrus longhorns they find and report them to their local plant health and seeds inspector.

They can be identified by their one-inch black bodies with white speckles on their backs, while their antennae can often be up to twice as long as their bodies.

Meanwhile, Girlguiding Staffordshire has won Best Show Garden at Gardeners World Live.