Painted grasshopper pest in UK for first time

A grasshopper never before seen in the UK has been intercepted at a UK airport.

The painted grasshopper (Poeklocerus pictus) arrived from India. The 6cm-long insect is blue and yellow.

The specimen was identified by the Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera) after being found on a flight arriving at Stansted Airport.

"The visitor has a voracious appetite and rapidly ate its way through a cabbage plant in the quarantine lab," said Fera entomologist Dr Chris Malumphy.

"Grasshoppers can consume green forage roughly eight times as fast as cattle in proportion to their weight."

Fera said the lone grasshopper will not be able to reproduce and it would have been unlikely to survive the UK climate.

"This insect is an economic pest in Pakistan and India where it reportedly damages a number of food plants including aubergine, citrus, cucurbits, potatoes and tomatoes," Malumphy said.


Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Crop protection: edibles armoury

Crop protection: edibles armoury

New products are still coming through despite challenging regulations. Gavin McEwan reports on what's new for growers of edible crops.

Crop protection: Ornamentals armoury

Crop protection: Ornamentals armoury

What can ornamental plant growers do to meet increasing pressure from the industry and consumers to become more sustainable? Sally Drury investigates the available product options.

Weed control: effective management

Weed control: effective management

Control is needed in urban areas as well as on sports turf and nursery sites. Sally Drury looks at the best ways to manage weeds as well as costs.