The Department of Agriculture and Food is urging home gardeners to do their bit to help stop the spread of the tomato potato psyllid, a destructive insect pest which has been discovered in Australia for the first time.
The psyllid feeds on a range of plants, including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, tamarillo and sweet potato. Many of these vegetables are widely grown in backyard plots.
The tomato potato psyllid was first detected in Perth in February and has since been found on more than 60 properties, including commercial horticulture properties and home gardens. The majority of detections have been in the metropolitan area, with a small number confirmed in regional areas.
A Quarantine Area Notice, consisting of designated control and suppression zones, is now in place for residents in the Perth metropolitan area and some regional shires.
Under the conditions of the Notice, residents in the metropolitan area, Mandurah and the shires of Murray, Chittering and Gingin must not take selected home-grown vegetables, including tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, outside of the control zone.
Residents in the suppression zone, in the shires of August-Margaret River, Beverley, Boddington, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Brookton, Capel, Collie, Dandaragan, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup, Harvey, Manjimup, Moora, Nannup, Northam, Toodyay, Victoria Plains and Wandering, and the cities of Bunbury and Busselton can move produce within the two zones, but not outside this area.
Residents in both these zones should not move these identified home-grown plants, to reduce the potential of spreading the pest.
Department Chief Plant Biosecurity Officer John van Schagen said the restrictions on the movement of non-commercial home-grown fruit and vegetables were in force from today (Monday 27 March).
“We are making every effort to stop the spread of this pest and are urging local residents in the affected zones to support our valuable horticulture industries and make sure they don’t move this targeted home-grown produce, out of the Quarantine Area,” he said.
“The tomato potato psyllid is very destructive and we need to work together to ensure that we do what we can to reduce the impacts on both home and commercial growers.
“Complying with these movement restrictions is one way the community can help limit the spread of the pest into regional areas.”
Home gardeners in the metropolitan area who have the psyllid are advised to control the pest, with a range of options including chemical and eco-oil controls available on the department website.
“Ongoing surveillance by the department in regional areas will help determine the extent of the spread of this pest and how to contain and control it,” Mr van Schagen said.
“For that reason, we are asking residents in regional areas to continue reporting any suspect detections to the department.”
Regional residents who suspect they may have tomato potato psyllid should send a photo to DAFWA via the MyPestGuide Reporter app available from Google Play or the App Store, or email photos with your name, address and mobile number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, call the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881.
The psyllid does not pose a risk to human health.
To find out more about tomato potato psyllid, including the list of approved control options and a map of the Quarantine Area, go to the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au/tpp
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937/3325