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BETA Your feedback will help us improve the UK Plant Health Information Portal

Colorado Potato Beetle Outbreak – December 2023

In July the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed the finding of Colorado potato beetle larvae in a commercial potato crop in Kent.

A demarcated area was established, which includes the infested area where the single colony was found and a 1 km buffer zone around the infested area.

Working closely and with the full cooperation of the local farmers swift action was taken within the infested area to eradicate the beetle, including crop destruction.

A co-ordinated programme of intense inspection was undertaken within 1 km buffer zone and more widely out to 5 km to detect any presence of other beetles throughout the summer and into early autumn.

Since the initial finding, no new colonies were detected but one male adult beetle was found in a potato field within the 1 km buffer zone. Ageing of the beetle indicated a strong likelihood of association with the original colony.

The 1 km buffer zone remains under restrictions and officials will resume inspections in Spring 2024.

As part of raising awareness and to increase vigilance the outbreak was communicated directly to other potato growers in Kent, the local community, grower trade associations and more widely across social media and on gov.uk.

Colorado potato beetle surveillance is undertaken across the country as part of our routine national detection surveillance activity and no further outbreaks were detected. The vigilance and support of the farmers and trade associations are gratefully acknowledged and have been of critical importance in our efforts to eradicate this pest.