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Last Updated: Thursday October 02 2008 17:00 GMT

Ore investigates a conkers crisis

Ore has gone conkers bonkers

When the leaves turn brown in Autumn it usually means it's time for conker fights, but this year those battles may be not be as much fun as before.

Ore had a look at the problems high amongst the trees…

"Varnish them'", "put them in the airing cupboard", "bake them in the oven", "pour cement over them??" There are a whole load of techniques talked about to make conkers absolute champions.

I must admit, I've never been a conker champion. I was once given the advice to put varnish on my conker and put it in the airing cupboard, only to find that it had started to grow - not the best advice. Although it might be a useful tip for conker fans this year...

According to experts, conkers have started falling earlier then they normally do, and the result is that they will be a lot smaller.

It's all because of a little insect called the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner. It's a moth that has been laying its eggs in the trees. Those eggs hatch and make the leaves go brown too early and bring the conkers down with them as they fall.

Despite the problems, loads of people are still collecting hundreds of conkers and doing all sorts of tricks in a race against time to try to turn their conkers into world beaters.

Samuel, Jennie and Louis
Samuel, Jennie and Louis spoke to Newsround about their conker finds
Samuel said the best way to find conkers was to climb trees, if only to get them before the squirrels.

Jennie said: "I found quite a lot, but they were all cheese cutters - flat on one side. They were quite easy to find."

Louis said: "I found 15 in one area, but in another area I couldn't find any. I think it might be a bit early for them."

The Conkers World Championship kick off later in October and hopefully one little moth won't ruin a cracking conkers competition!