"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, August 14, 2008

DEfRA act to seek and destroy unwanted immigrants - bio warfare terror pest alert !!!

The BBC "Today" programme brought attention to a curious bug "Mysterious insect baffles experts" . Apparently an unidentifiable tiny red and black bug (the use of the word bug in this context has a precise taxonomic purpose - distinct from it's use by advertsing copyriters and others to identify any apparently unpleasant animal/ insect specimen) which first appeared in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden in March 2007 and the rice grain sized bug "baffled" scientists.

Eventually they decided it most resembled a rare species of the Hemiptera or bugs Arocatus roeselii Fam Lygaeidae , that is usually found in central Europe.

A fascinating and beautifully illustrated on line guide to the British Bugs by Joe Botting and Tristan Bantock is available here.

The Natural History Museum sought help to identify the bug from the public and invited listeners to e-mail the propgramme. Impolitely they failed to answer e-mails from Lord Patel who suggested that it's sudden appearane maysuggest a common source of wood boring beetles who's origins may be found in Chinese packing cases which were the source (it appears) of a very unwelcome imigrant in the US called Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky), the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), which is well established near New York City and Chicago and eradication efforts have cost US389 Mn.

A closely related species - The Citrus Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) was discovered at a nursery in Athens, GA in late April 1999 on crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia) bonsai imported from China.

It was therefore of great interest that DEfRA have announced today that The Citrus Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) and about 12 mm long , has been brought into the UK on Acer plants (Acer palmatum or 'Japanese Maple') They have recently been found in the UK following the distribution by mail order of at least 90,000 potentially infested plants imported from China via the Netherlands before distribution from Guernsey. (see below)

This pest is not established in Great Britain but there have been recent findings in Gloucestershire and Lancashire.

If you find one you should obtain samples if possible and immediately contact your local Plant Health and Seeds Inspector (PHSI) details of whom can be found on the Defra website - http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/senior.htm or telephone 01904 455174.

Defra have more information on their website with an extremely informative and well illustrated leaflet about the Citrus Longhorn Beetle here (pdf)

It is evident that this is matter of serious concern. Citrus longhorn beetles have been intercepted in the UK at nurseries, bonsai importers and in private gardens on imported trees and bonsais from China, Japan and South Korea.

The most common hosts have been maples especially Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) and A. buergerianum (Trident maple), also imported Malus spp. bonsais (dwarf apple trees).

There is an ongoing outbreak of the beetle in Lombardia, Italy. Currently, the only totally effective way of controlling larvae and pupae is to fell and chip or burn infested trees. Foliar insecticide sprays can be effective against adults, but are not effective against larvae and pupae. Eradication measures have included the destruction of hundreds of mature trees.

Citrus Longhorn Beetle in the USA

In August 2001, three specimens of A. chinensis, were discovered in a Tukwila, Washington (USA) nursery on Japanese Maple bonsai plants (Acer spp.) imported from Korea.This was the first identification but it has spread since and is now a notifiable pest. Good identification pics here

This is of serious concern in the US because host plants of this a polyphagous pest can include many important agricultural crops -including Citrus aurantiifolia (lime), C. aurantium (sour orange), C. limonia (mandarin lime), C. maxima (pummelo), C. nobilis (tangerine), and C. sinensis (navel orange). Other hosts include Psidium guajava (guava), Carya illinoinensis (pecan).

The damage associated with CLHB is caused by the larval stages which feeds and tunnel on the woody portion of the host plant trunk.

Biological control in the US has been provided by predation by the weaver/red ants, Oecophylla smaragdina (Fab.) and the pathogenic fungi Beauveria brongniartii (Sacc.) is known to cause high adult mortality.

Otherwise systemic insecticides (useless on adults) such as imidacloprid can be injected in trees.

Thompson & Morgan Group Ltd.,

Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd operate from Poplar Lane, Ipswich and have a famous, successful and massive brand for selling seeds and plants by mail order in the UK . Group sales in the year to June 30, 2007 were £39.4 million.

However if you go to their website http://www.thompson-morgan.com/ and purchase anything ,you are actually dealing with Thompson & Morgan (Young Plants) Ltd, Longue Hougue Depot , Longue Hougue Lane , St. Sampson , Guernsey ,GY2 4JN

Guernsey is one of the Channel Island Bailiwicks and is a Crown dependency with an independently administrated jurisdictions, not forming part of the United Kingdom or of the European Union - but is treated as part of the United Kingdom for British nationality law purposes.

Due to this quirk of history , geography and UK VAT tax law , if you buy anything from a Guernsey company you do not pay VAT at 17.5%. In October last year T & M bought Rainbow Flowers Ltd another Guernsey-based supplier of fresh and silk flowers, gifts and chocolates.

The purchaser is blissfully unaware of this as VAT paid is not required to be stated on any sales invoice, but it does provide the seller with a serious competitive advantage in selling against a UK resident company.

However the writ of the The Advertsing Standards Authority does cover their UK activities and they upheld a complaint in May about T & M's "Highlights for 2008 catalogue ". A number of different Fuchsias were pictured with explanatory text below. Beneath two of the pictures, text stated "NEW! 'Mood Indigo'" and "NEW! 'Tom West'".

The complainant challenged the description of the Tom West and Mood Indigo varieties of fuchsia as "new", because he understood that they were old varieties. This complaint was upheld and T & M were told to make clear in future catalogues whether the varieties of Fuchsia were new to their catalogue or newly introduced varieties of Fuchsia.

Anyway if you go online and select from the quick index "Bonsai Japanese Maple" you will find this picture and enticing half price offer (plus postage)

There is no warning and no suggestion that stock is unavailable.

Guernsey & Latvia - a historical aside

Another curious feature of Guernsey is that before Latvia was a member of the EU they used to have a special approved "agricultural student" scheme so that girls could obtain work experience packing bulbs and plants in boxes in cold unheated warehouses for 6 months at a time. A constant problem for the ever vigilant authorities in Guernsey was the leakage of such girls into the hotel and restaurant trade so critical to the holiday island - and even across on a ferry to the UK.

Entry into the EU now provides the charming and very beautiful girls of Latvia rights of entry into the golden layered pavements of the UK.

So the holidaymaker or tired financial analyst, instead of having their bed turned down by a beaming Latvian lady, is now more likely to finf it done by a smiling Sri Lankan or Filipino.

No comments:

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish