I’m always interested to be shown specimens or photos of insects that people have found. I can’t always help with a precise identification, but I can at least offer some ideas of what type of creature it might be. Often I have to guess at a dark blob. Sometimes it’s a crisp clear picture and a name comes easy.
So when I was shown this picture by one of the teachers at the local primary school, it was obvious.
This beautiful and distinctive insect is on the edge of our pest-control radar here. The Forestry Commission have started issuing warnings. The Daily Mail has already been on about it. Twice. The beetle became established near Maidstone in 2012; it is thought to have been eradicated, but only after the felling of over 2100 trees.
I tried not to inject any concern into my voice: “Ah, where did you find that one?”
“It was crawling across the pavement on our school trip to China.”
Phew. That’s all right then.