Insects to be released into UK

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts may often find plant-eating insects a pain in the neck, but the government has revealed plans to release a new species into the UK.

The trial introduction of the Aphalara itadori psyllid is aimed at halting the rapid spread of the troublesome Japanese knotweed.

It is hoped that the tiny jumping insects, who prey on the sap of the perennial plant species, could offer a solution by limiting its growth.

The government intends to release a small number at locations across England as a test to see if they are effective.

Gardeners may be reassured by the fact that experts will be on hand with pesticides to ensure the insects do not become a problem if they begin attacking other plants.

Wildlife minister Huw Irranca-Davies suggested that the "ground-breaking" activity could help redress the balance of nature.

It will be the first time such measures have been taken in Europe and those with a passion for garden and greenhouse growing may be watching with interest for the results.

In other news, the Royal Horticultural Society recently gave some advice to gardeners concerned about the links between potting compost and Legionnaires disease.