The pine tree lappet moth is causing concern north of the border in Scotland, and tree surgeons will be watching with interest too to see how the current situation develops.
Scotland’s pine trees already face several threats, but despite causing widespread damage in Europe, the lappet moth was only discovered in the UK within the last ten years.
Over the decade since then, scientists have been working hard to determine the DNA profile of the moths, whose caterpillars feed on pine needles and can damage large areas of forest in sufficient numbers.
But the findings have proved inconclusive – so it is not known whether the moth is a new introduction from the continent, and therefore a potential threat, or a native species whose population numbers are stable.
If a threat is identified, tree surgeons may be called into action north of the border, as some tree felling could be required to manage the caterpillar population.
The Forestry Commission Scotland says other methods may also be attempted, such as an innovative technique of using bands of glue to tackle breeding sites, rather than tree felling.