- The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia has implemented restrictions on the movement of commercially-grown vegetables and nursery stock produced around the Perth metropolitan area, to help prevent the spread of the tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli).
- See the website “Quarantine Area Notice – Perth Metropolitan Area” for more details.
- The pest has been found at a commercial property north of Perth and several locations across the metropolitan area.
- There have been no confirmed detections of the tomato potato psyllid in regional locations to date.
- The impacted properties have been quarantined, and the movement of host material (plant and vegetable) from these properties has been restricted.
- Chemical treatments have been applied to the quarantined commercial property.
- This is the first time the psyllid has been detected in Australia.
- The tomato potato psyllid is a significant production pest, attacking a range of plants in the Solanaceae family including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum and chilli, along with sweet potato.
- The tomato potato psyllid can carry the bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, causing the ‘zebra chip’ disease in potato. The bacterium has not been found in any samples taken to date.
1. Quarantine Area Notice – Perth metropolitan area
- A Quarantine Area Notice is now in place for the Perth metropolitan area (Notice on the website).
- The Quarantine Area (QA) extends to include the shires of Wanneroo in the north, Serpentine-Jarrahdale in the south and Mundaring in the east (see map).
- The Notice imposes certain restrictions on the movement from the QA of host plants or any machinery, equipment, soil or other plant growing medium used in connection with host plants that could spread tomato potato psyllid.
- Host plants include potato, tomato, pepper, paprika, capsicum, chilli, eggplant, tamarillo, sweet potato and the weeds nightshade, ground cherry, matrimony vine and field bindweed.
- The notice prohibits movement of host material and potential carriers (host plants and produce, related machinery and equipment) from the QA by commercial producers unless it is treated, or certified, as specified in the Notice.
- Host plants and seedlings will require a two-phase chemical treatment with no less than 24 hours between the two sprays. Records of treatment, transporters and consignees must be kept by the producer.
- All chemical label and permit critical use comments, and other comments/directions, must be followed.
- Host produce (fruit and vegetables other than potato/sweet potato tubers free of above-ground material) will require a treatment known to be effective (e.g. methyl bromide fumigation).
- Machinery and equipment needs to be washed free of plant material and soil with high pressure hot water or treated with an appropriate insecticide. Records of this must be kept.
- If the host plants and other things mentioned are not treated as specified, they will need to be certified by an inspector as having been prepared in accordance with the directions of an inspector.
- Targeted compliance inspections will be undertaken
Conditions outside of the Quarantine Area
- Solanaceous or convolvulaceous fruit/vegetables which were grown and packed outside the Quarantine Area may be moved from the Quarantine Area provided they remain secured in their original packaging.
- See Frequently Asked Questions on our website for more information.
2. Surveillance and inspections
- The department continues to work closely with vegetablesWA, the Potato Growers Association of WA and Nursery and Gardening Industry Western Australia (NGIWA), to respond and minimise the impact of this pest.
- Surveillance activities are progressing in metropolitan and regional areas to determine its current distribution.
- Growers will be contacted by vegetablesWA or the department to advise of inspections on property.
- The visit will include a visual inspection of crops, particularly solanaceous crops and any solanaceous weeds surrounding crops; the collection of suspect insects and plant material for testing for the bacterium, and the installation of ‘sticky traps’ to trap insects. A department officer will return after a few days later to replace the sticky traps, and submit the collected traps for testing by the department.
3. Interstate trade
- New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland have introduced movement controls on host material from the Solanaceae or Convolvulaceae families produced in Western Australia.
- Interim emergency requirements for produce including tomatoes, sweet potato, eggplant, capsicum and chilli vary between the states. NSW has stopped entry for the Solanaceous fruit whilst other states require treatment conditions.
- Potato exports (ware and seed) from Western Australia cannot be exported to these states at this time under current interim movement controls.
- The department is working with industry, other State jurisdictions and the Federal department to seek agreement on requirements as a matter of priority. This will assist to resume trade as soon as possible.
- Please contact the relevant authority in the State you are exporting to. Alternatively, enquiries can be directed to Quarantine WA Exports Officer on 08 9334 1800 for further information.
4. Grower workshops
In collaboration with vegetablesWA and the Potato Growers Association of WA, grower workshops have been held at Wanneroo, Baldivis, Dandaragan, Bunbury, Geraldton, and Carnarvon.
Industry meetings have been arranged for the following areas. Click on each meeting to see the full details.
5. Check your crops and report
- Commercial growers are urged to check for signs of the psyllid and report any unusual detections to the department using the MyPestGuide Reporter app.
- Growers are advised not to spray specifically for the psyllid until their crops have been surveyed and appropriate chemicals for use have been identified.
- Practice sound farm biosecurity procedures to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. More information on biosecurity is available at the Farm Biosecurity website.
Phone: 08 9481 0834
Potato Growers Association of WA
Phone: (08) 9481 0834
Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Brenda Coutts, Industry Liaison
Phone: 0429 193 973
Nursery and Garden Industry Western Australia
Matthew Lunn, Chief Executive Officer
Phone: 0410 714 207
Further information and general enquiries