An invasive stink bug from Asia that can destroy crops and invade homes has been spotted in Surrey.
While there are more than 40 kinds of stink bug already living in the UK, this particular insect, the brown marmorated stink bug, has begun to migrate west from Asia, threatening fruit crops.
Researchers at RHS Garden Wisley set up pheromone traps to see whether the bug had migrated to the UK, after sightings in Europe sparked fears of the species’ spread.
Within weeks, a lone bug was trapped, suggesting there were at least some of the creature living in the UK.
The bugs, which can be brought over on imported goods, could be a common feature of British wildlife within a decade, according to some researchers.
It’s not currently obvious whether the bug was from a local population or a lone hitchhiker from abroad, but no eggs indicative of a native population have been found so far.
This is the third time a brown marmorated stink bug has been caught in a pheromone trap in the UK, once in Essex and once in London’s Natural History Museum.
The department for environment, Defra, has also intercepted the invasive bug on various imports from China and the US.
The trap in Surrey was set up by a plant science company, NIAB EMR, and forms part of a national monitoring project to detect the stinkbug.
‘[The] brown marmorated stink bug represents a significant threat to food production systems in the UK so it is crucial that we continue to monitor any establishment and spread of the pest,’ Dr Michelle Fountain, head of pest and pathogen ecology at NIAB EMR, told the BBC.
The invasive stink bug is characterised by a rectangular head and emit a certain smell when threatened.
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