A stink bug that targets crops and a disease-spreading mosquito are among species which could invade Britain as a result of climate change.

Warmer weather in the UK may see a spike in insect populations, a national trade body has warned.

And educating the public will be key to mitigating the potential damage non-native bugs can cause.

“Pests have no borders,” warned Dee Ward-Thompson, Technical Manager at the British Pest Control Association. “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.”

Insect breeding cycles are based on heat, so warmer weather will mean bug populations can thrive.

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.

Native to China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan, stink bugs feed on agricultural crops.

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.

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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, and they have been 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.”