Moulton raises awareness of pest with poster campaign

Students from Moulton College in Northamptonshire have launched a campaign to help target the invasive citrus longhorn beetle (Anoplophora chinensis), evidence of which was recently found in nearby Rutland.

Wild West-style wanted posters have been created and the 8,000-strong student body is on the look out for the pest, which wreaked havoc in other European nations this year.

Moulton College senior lecturer in horticulture Dr Russel Sharp said: "The pest has recently been found in Rutland and as it was not associated with an import of trees, but free in the environment, the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) was worried it could represent an outbreak of this potentially devastating pest.

"As Rutland is within our catchment area, I have encouraged some of our students to work up a poster on the species, so that the other students in the land-based faculty could keep an eye out for the adult beetles or signs of trunk boring when out in the field.

He continued: "With more than 8,000 students at this land-based college, coming from Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire, this represents a massive distribution of people across the eastern region who will now be monitoring for this pest."

FERA plant health officer Richard McIntosh welcomed the move. He said: "The more we can encourage public awareness the better, so we are always happy to explore ways to get the message across. The key thing is if any one does spot what they think might be one of the beetles or any evidence of them then they should let FERA know as soon as possible."

Sharp said the posters had proved a useful learning resource and degree-level horticulture courses revealed plans to create a series of them relating to all major pest and disease threats.

- For a copy of the poster, email russ.sharp@moulton.ac.uk.


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