Willow under attack


The Swiss government has warned that due to an outbreak of Willow Wood boring beetles,
all cricket bats may have to be treated before being certified for use in Switzerland.

Asian longhorn beetle (Xestobium Rufovillosum)
Asian longhorn beetle (Xestobium Rufovillosum)

The measures are being introduced due to an outbreak of longhorn beetles (i.e. Asian longhorn beetle or emerald ash borer) of unprecented epedemic levels, attributed to global warming and the import of substandard cricket bats from abroad.

 

The larval eat and destroy wood (in the woodworking industry most commonly referred to as woodworm) and could endanger domestic woodland and have catastophic effects on the timber industry, construction and furniture making industries.

 

Woodboring beetles most often attack dying or dead trees. In forest settings, they are important in the turnover of trees by culling weak trees, thus allowing new growth to occur.

Worm infested cricket bat
Worm infested cricket bat

They are also important as primary decomposers of trees within forest systems, allowing for the recycling of nutrients locked away in the relatively decay-resilient woody material of trees.

 

Though the vast majority of woodboring beetles are ecologically important and economically benign, the Willow Wood boring beetle species is particularly fond of willow, and has become an economic pest by infesting healthy trees and threatening Swiss forest ecosystems.

Methods of treatment

Methods of treatment include:

  • Spot application of pesticides; only obtainable by certified professionals
  • Freezing. Infested cricket bats may be wrapped in plastic and placed in walk-in freezers for several weeks
  • Fumigation
  • Heat Treatment. The cricket bat is heated to 50-70 degree Celsius for a few hours.

To have your cricket bat certified for use in Switzerland contact the Swiss Forestry Commission.