Beware foreign beetle

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts have been warned to keep an eye out for a species of insect alien to the UK.

The citrus longhorn beetle comes from the Far East, but has increasingly been working its way across Europe, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

Considered a pest and a major threat to UK plant life, it is believed that the insect makes its way across borders by piggybacking on ornamental plants.

Outbreaks in France, The Netherlands and Italy have caused the European Union to suspend imports of Japanese maples from China and experts in the UK are keen to avoid any infestation.

Gardeners are being encouraged to trap any citrus longhorns that they spot and report them to the Food and Environmental Research Agencys plant health and seeds inspector.

The adult beetles are easiest to spot – they are black with white speckles on their back, have antennae up to twice as long as the body and measure around an inch in length.

In other news, the RHS is currently involved in hosting Gardeners World Live, which is taking place at Birminghams NEC.