The Asian long-horned beetle, which attacks trees, has been detected for the first time in Switzerland in canton Fribourg, the Federal Environment Office says.
The beetles, which originate from East Asia, have been labelled by Swiss experts “a particularly dangerous pest”.
Asian long-horned beetles are not allowed in Switzerland because they attack healthy deciduous trees and in serious cases can cause the trees to die. Affected trees therefore have to be felled, which causes ecological and economic costs, a statement said on Thursday.
It added that the beetles had most likely reached Europe through wood packaging.
“Despite random control checks by the Swiss Federal Plant Protection Service at the border, two specimens of the Asian long-horned beetle have been found,” the office said. They turned up in a private garden whose owner alerted the authorities.
It is not yet known how the beetles got there, nor how much they have infested the area. The Federal Environment Office and canton Fribourg are now working together on fighting the insect, the statement said.
The beetles made their way to the United States in 1996. Several European countries have also reported them, including Swiss neighbours France, Austria and Germany.
swissinfo.ch and agencies