Colorado Beetle outbreak


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Warning goes out to UK growers as APHA takes eradication measures.

GROWERS, processors and the public have been warned to remain vigilant as an outbreak of Colorado Beetle has been confirmed in Kent

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed findings of Colorado potato beetle larvae in Kent. Confirmation was made following laboratory diagnosis of samples taken by APHA’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. It is the first time an outbreak of the beetle has been confirmed in the UK since 1977, although they are endemic in large parts of Europe.

APHA is working closely with the affected grower to eradicate the pest from the site, including performing a 1km survey to determine whether there are further cases beyond the immediately infested area.

If not eradicated, Colorado potato beetles are a significant threat to potato crops. The adult beetles and larvae feed on the foliage of potato and can completely strip them of their leaves if they are left uncontrolled. 

UK Chief Plant Health Officer Nicola Spence said: “Following a report, our experts have identified the presence of Colorado beetle larvae in a potato field in Kent. We are responding swiftly through our eradication programme."

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She encouraged all growers, farmers, processors and the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings, especially in Kent.

Any suspected findings of the Colorado potato beetle or its larvae should be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency, whether in a commercial, environmental, or domestic setting, by telephoning: 0300 1000 313 (please select option 3 when calling) or by emailing the [email protected] mailbox.

Following discovery of the pest, appropriate action will be taken to prevent further spread, including removing and destroying the potato crop within the immediate vicinity in a biosecure manner.

Full details and background on the pest can be found in our feature here.

Photo: skorchanov

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