The Scottish government has invested £550,000 into a small device that aims to act as a solution to pest management in forestry across the UK and globally.

The device counts weevils and notifies foresters when the weevil population gets to critical levels, allowing them to take action at the earliest possible convenience.

The pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis) kills millions of newly planted trees across the UK and Europe, causing an estimated £5 million in direct losses to the UK alone, according to the Scottish government.

The device is applicable anywhere that the weevils are present and has also been adapted to target other pests in agriculture (e.g. the red palm weevil in UAE and Saudi Arabia) and forestry globally.

The development team included the Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish government, the Scottish Funding Council and Forestry and Land Scotland. It was designed by engineering company Spotta.

“Forestry and woodland creation are key to Climate Emergency mitigation and to Scotland achieving Net Zero, so it is vital that newly planted trees are given every opportunity to grow,” said Environment Minister McAllan, who today (Tuesday, November 30) announced the investment.

Tree pests are a serious threat to the economic, social and environmental benefits that forestry provides and finding solutions that help manage them effectively is a huge benefit – not just here in Scotland but potentially much further afield.

“This innovative solution is a tremendous benefit for the forestry sector and the environment.”