Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 117–126 | Cite as

Three new species of ambrosia beetles established in Great Britain illustrate unresolved risks from imported wood

  • Daegan J. G. InwardEmail author
Original Paper


Bark and ambrosia beetles (Scolytinae) are frequently introduced to new areas through international trade of wood and wood products. When novel host trees are encountered, they can be naïve and susceptible to attack, enabling previously harmless scolytine species to become damaging, or the symbiotic fungi of ambrosia beetles to become pathogenic. Invasive Scolytinae are often only recognised after they have become harmful, so the early detection of such species is important for forest protection and management. The first nationwide survey of Scolytinae in Great Britain was conducted between 2013 and 2017, to determine the presence and distribution of previously undetected alien species. Study sites included pine, spruce and oak forests and forests near ports where wood and forest products are imported. Insect traps baited with ‘broad-spectrum’ lures were employed to maximise the diversity of scolytine species collected. Three recently established alien species were detected, Xylosandrus germanus, Gnathotrichus materiarius and Cyclorhipidion bodoanum; the latter two species are new records for Britain. All three species appear to be largely restricted to south-east England at present, and strikingly, all are ambrosia beetles. Current EU plant health regulations for wood importation and movement are limited in their effectiveness against ambrosia beetles, since bark removal does not typically destroy them. In the relatively cool summer climate of Britain, southern England appears to provide the most optimal thermal conditions for the establishment of invasive wood and bark-boring beetle species.


Scolytinae Bark beetles Invasive pests Biosecurity Plant health International trade 



Many thanks to all of the land owners and managers for their help in selecting field sites and for hosting the study. Special thanks to all of the dedicated volunteers who helped to maintain and empty the traps, including Tony Reeves, John Lakey, Jenny Gill, Trish Jackson, Colin Gordon, Colin Smart, John Manning, Izi Banton, Jennifer Watson, Rob Jones, Andy Malcolm, Ben Jones, Mick Biddle, Helen Carter, Emily Fensom, Alan Ockenden, Barnaby Wylder, Paul Gough, Bill Fisher, Andy Miller, Laura Green, Henry Dobson, Hazel Andrews, Mark Hilleard, Andy Wright, Michael Ndeze, Jonathan Singleton, Ifan Emyr, Richard & Frances Mason, Jonathan Ireland, Allan Thompson, Martin Smith, Wally Grice, Laurence Langton, Tony Burgoyne, Richard Barrett, Ian Blair, Aiden Currie, Wayne Penrose, Dafni Nianiaka, Cameron MacIntyre, Alex Easson, Jackie Cumberbirch and Claire Marsden. Thanks also to Nigel Straw, Nick Mainprize and the anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier drafts, and to Chris Storey for assistance with photography.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of United Kingdom 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest ResearchFarnham, SurreyUK

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