Asian longhorn — not today thank you

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.

Asian longhorn, Anoplophora glabripennis. Lovely, but not welcome here.

Asian longhorn, Anoplophora glabripennis. Lovely, but not welcome here, thank you very much.

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.

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