Biosecurity Blitz 2017

The Biosecurity Blitz is an annual event which runs from 18 - 30 September. It is an opportunity for all to join in and help discover as many interesting or damaging pests (animals, insects, diseases and weeds) as possible across Western Australia over a period of two weeks. Your efforts to report pests will protect Western Australia's agri-food industries and the natural environment from harmful exotic pests.

The Biosecurity Blitz is part of the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project funded by Royalties for Regions and led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Download either MyPestGuide, PestFax or Weedwatcher apps and use these to report a pest to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). Experts will identify each reported pest and respond to you directly.

  • The MyPestGuide Reporter app lets users take and send photos to DPIRD plus adds your observation to a community map. Once a report is received, a DPIRD expert identifies the pest. A response is sent back to your device and via an email notification. Individual reports can be viewed by the whole community to share what you see without sharing any personal information.
  • PestFax was developed for broadacre agronomists and naturalists who are confident at identifying pests and require a quick app to make repeated reports such as when crop scouting.
  • Weedwatcher was built for specifically reporting weeds and for those who enjoy the detail in a diagnostic tool for reporting weeds in the field.

If you don’t have a smartphone, no worries! You can create an online report using the MyPestGuide website.

The information you collect is important because DPIRD will use it to calculate the probability of WA’s freedom from certain exotic pests or diseases. This information helps ensure the ongoing sale of WA produce to overseas markets.

Frequently asked questions.

What is a Biosecurity Blitz?

A. A collaborative effort by all to catalogue the diversity of insects, weeds, diseases and animals in Western Australia over a two week period.

Q. Why should I participate?

A. It helps protect our environment, our food, many jobs and its lots of fun! In addition, you get a response from DPIRD experts which helps everyone learn about pests in your local area.

So why not:

  • Go bug hunting with your friend(s). Use the apps to make a pest diary of your day trip, holiday or walk to work.
  • Report indoor pests.
  • Find out more about the beautiful critters in your community; get outside and look ‘actively’.
  • Connect with a grower and consider ‘adopting a crop’ and help them scout for pests - check out the new CropScout app!
  • Improve the quality of pest management decisions i.e. backyard gardeners using the right treatments or not spraying beneficial predators.
  • Track and monitor pests on a map. Build up a pest picture of your farm, garden or adopted-crop. Once you have a pest picture then you’ll make better decisions next time.

Q. How do I participate?

A. Download a reporting app and start looking for pests, diseases or damage. It is easy to use the apps to report something of interest to the Department.

Q. What is inference reporting?

A. When you report a carpet beetle for example this ‘infers’ it is not an exotic ‘khapra beetle’. It shows us that you have made an effort to look for pests in the right place and that in this instance, only the local species and not an exotic pest was found. By inference we can calculate the probability exotic pests are unlikely to be present in WA.

Q. What if I don’t have a smartphone?

A. No worries, you can go online and make a report on the website at mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au

Q. Who’s running the Biosecurity Blitz?

A. The MyPestGuide Team is a group of committed and passionate DPIRD staff who aim to improve biosecurity surveillance in order to prioritise action in WA. The Biosecurity Blitz is funded by the Royalties for Regions project, Boosting Biosecurity Defences, which runs until 2018.  

Q. How is the information I report being used?

A. Your WA data is compiled with other WA data collected by the public to help verify whether or not we have certain unwanted pests relevant to Australia’s import and export trade markets.

Q. Are my personal details protected?

A. All reports are saved on DPIRD's secure server. Only reports that you have agreed to share are visible to the reporting community after being identified by the DPIRD expert but no personal contact details are shared.

Q. Why share reports with the community?

A. It will help build awareness of pests and allow everyone to learn about species in their local area.

Q. Will I get a response and how long will it take?

A. Yes, a DPIRD expert will send you the ID of the pest back to your device (if you are registered) and by email. This normally takes 1-2 days but during the Biosecurity Blitz it may take a bit longer. If you think we have overlooked your report please send us an email mypestguide@agric.wa.gov.au

Q. Which app should I use?

A. Everyone can report using MyPestGuide Reporter (as it allows up to 4 photos). However, if you are certain you know what the pest is (i.e. agronomists) or are a current user of MyCrop or PestFax Reporter then use the drop-down selections in PestFax Reporter or diagnose and report the pest using MyCrop. For crop scouting aphids later in the season we suggest you try out the new CropScout.

Q. What if I find an exotic pest?

A. Contain it and send us a report via MyPestGuide Reporter. Follow up with the Pest and Disease Information Service (PADIS) by calling (08) 9368 3080 or email mypestguide@agric.wa.gov.au. We welcome all queries and submissions, including samples. Please do not send live specimens in the mail, instead contact PADIS first and they will redirect you to the right source of information.

Q. I’m a teacher - can I use the apps in my class?

A. Yes, we have created a set of biosecurity lesson plans to use in the classroom.

Contact information

Email: mypestguide@agric.wa.gov.au

Phone: +61 (8) 9368 3080

Contact information

Rosalie McCauley
+61 (0)8 9368 3787
Laura Fagan
Page last updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - 12:03pm