What is TPP?
TPP is a plant pest which feeds on tomato, potato, capsicum, chilli, goji berry, tamarillo, eggplant and sweet potato, leading to a loss of plant vigor and yield. The weeds nightshade, groundcherry, matrimony vine and field bindweed are also hosts of the pest.
TPP is a tiny sap-sucking insect with three stages of development – egg, nymph and adult. All stages are very small (less than 3mm) but can be seen with the naked eye. Adults and nymphs cause injury to plants when feeding.
- Adult TPP are about 3mm long and resemble small winged cicadas in appearance, but are the size of an aphid. The body is brownish and has white or yellowish markings and a broad white band on the abdomen. Wings are transparent and rest roof-like over the body.
- Nymphs are up to 2mm long and are oval shaped. They have a flattened scale-like appearance. Young nymphs are yellow with a pair of red eyes. Older nymphs are greenish, fringed with hairs and have visible wing buds.
- TPP eggs are less than 1mm long and are attached to the plant by a short vertical stalk. They are usually laid on the lower surface of leaves or as a halo around the leaf edge. Eggs are white when first laid then turn yellow to orange after a few hours.
TPP can carry the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which is associated with 'zebra chip' disease in potatoes.
Check and report
Commercial vegetable growers and home gardeners should check for signs of TPP and report anything unusual to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.