A STINK bug that targets crops and a disease-spreading mosquito are among species which could invade Britain as a result of climate change, according to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA).

Warmer weather in the UK may see a spike in insect populations, and the BPCA believes that educating the public will be key to mitigating the potential damage.

“Pests have no borders,” warned Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager. “Warmer temperatures will make the UK more hospitable for invasive pest species.

“If our climate changes, so will our pests. If our summers get hotter, insect numbers will spike, European hornets will move further north and invasive species such as the Asian hornet, the brown marmorated stink bug and Asian tiger mosquitoes could take hold in the UK.”

Sightings of brown marmorated stink bugs have already been reported by members of the BPCA and warmer weather could make them a more common sight in Britain.

They have done significant damage to crops in the USA and New Zealand, where they are listed as an ‘invasive species’ but currently have no such classification in the UK.

And while European and Asian hornets appear to be drifting north year-on-year, of more concern is the shifting patterns of mosquitoes.

Dee added: “Over the last few years there have been fears of Asian tiger mosquitoes making their way to the UK.

“These mosquitoes are largely urban and actively bite during the day, making them a significant nuisance to people.

“They can also carry human diseases, responsible for outbreaks of Chikungunya disease in France and Italy, which resulted in several human deaths.“In September 2016, Public Health England found tiger mosquito eggs for the first time in the UK at a motorway services in Kent.

“These mosquitoes could gradually spread, probably across urban and sub-urban areas. This would commonly be due to importation but could certainly be assisted by climate change.”

Martin Rose-King and his team at Kent-based BPCA member company Bounty Pest Control have been monitoring any reports of Asian tiger mosquitoes in England since that first sighting.

He said: “We have been involved in the successful control of tiger mosquito larvae or eggs for Local Authorities each year since 2016.

“Along with our region’s transport links with mainland Europe, warmer climate is almost certainly going to be a contributing factor to the increase in activity in the years to come.

“Raising awareness of possible invasive pest species that could come into the UK due to climate change is crucial in mitigating the potential damage they can cause.”

BPCA works with partner agencies and authorities to share information on invasive species, and members are often the first alert.

Anyone who spots a species they believe to be non-native or possibly invasive should report it to nonnativespecies.org/home/