The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) is considered a serious pest on trees in the Picea genus as well as some tree species in other conifer genera.
In England, the pest was first found in Kent in 2018, and as a precaution a demarcated area covering cover parts of Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, City and County of the City of London, Greater London, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent and Essex was established. Within this demarcated area movement of materials and methods of forest operations have been restricted.
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.
In late spring to early summer over wintering adult male beetles start to fly in search of new host trees, and it is for this reason Defra has issued a fresh warning for stakeholders to remain vigilant for the pest.
Whilst only landowners and timber processors are likely to be affected by the current restrictions on movement of material, 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.