Update on spruce bark beetle

17 January 2019

Confor has renewed its call to the forestry industry to do everything possible to prevent the spread of a pest which has caused extensive damage to forests across Europe.

New measures have been introduced this week to protect against the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus), which was discovered in Kent in December 2018 during routine surveillance.

Parliamentary legislation will restrict the movement of all susceptible material, including trees and wood with bark, within 50km of the outbreak sites where Ips typographus was found.

Nicola Spence, the UK Chief Plant Health Officer, said: “The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) poses no threat to human health, but it can be a serious pest to the spruce tree species and the forestry industry.

"That is why we are taking robust action through this new legislation and its restriction of movement for spruce trees in a 50km area around the outbreak. I encourage anyone who suspects a sighting of the bark beetle to report these to the Forestry Commission online through Tree Alert.”

Caroline Ayre, Confor’s National Manager for England and its lead on plant health, said: “The discovery of the spruce bark beetle is of great concern to the UK foresters, and we support these measures.

"As I said when the beetle was discovered, it is essential everyone is vigilant to bring this outbreak to a swift conclusion. Everyone in the forestry community should continue to check their woodlands and co-operate fully with the authorities.

 "The UK forest and timber industry is worth over £2 billion, and employs around 80,000 people. Much of that value is based on our highly productive spruce woodlands, which are at risk from this insect.”

The exact boundaries of the restricted area, details of the materials under restriction and background on the pest are constantly updated on the Forestry Commission website  - and further detail on how to report suspected cases is available here: https://treealert.forestry.gov.uk/