Aliens living near you!

Wednesday 17th February 2016

I sometimes wonder, which invasive alien species causes the most damage to the British Isles. Obviously there are the usual suspects: Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan Balsam, New Zealand pygmyweed, Rhododendron, large bindweed, turkey oak, tree of heaven, Spanish bluebells, etc, but these are all plants; there are of course invasive animals, which cause real and significant harm to our environment, and these include Grey Squirrels, American mink, Killer Shrimp, White clawed crayfish, signal crayfish, rabbits, brown rat and many, many more!

As a beekeeper, I am of course aware of the many threats to bee health, that are out there. These include Asian Hornets (now present in France and rapidly spreading), Small Hive beetles (present in Italy) and of course the biggest invasive alien of all (as far as bees in this country are concerned) in threat if not size the varroa mite. These mites are small, but are breed rapidly in the hive and spread viruses amongst the bees, untreated they can and do kill whole hives.

So today’s blog is not about towering alien plants, or even obvious invasive animals moving into our towns and countryside, it is not about what is obvious (but is too often ignored), it is about the very real influence that all invasive aliens present to us.

I would suggest that anyone interested in this topic, read the very interesting and comprehensive ‘Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain’ authored by Max Wade, Olaf Boy and Helen Roy, it was first published last year and is an excellent guide to the very many different plants and animals that have invaded the British Isles, you may be surprised at some of the entries!

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