Tomato potato psyllid

Program update

Registrations are now closed.

Thank you for your support in the Tomato Potato Psyllid Trapping Project.

Tomato potato psyllid

Volunteer your garden to support insect research

Do you live in the Darwin or Palmerston area and have room for a tomato plant? We need your help.

We are conducting research on tomato potato psyllid (TPP), and are searching for volunteers to set up insect traps in their gardens or on their balconies. We will provide everything you need, including a free tomato plant.

The pest

TPP is one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests. It is a tiny sap-sucking insect that feeds mainly on tomatoes, potatoes, chillies, capsicums and eggplants. The adults look similar to cicadas, but are only a fraction of the size, growing to about 3mm in length. Not only does TPP damage plants and crops by feeding on them, it can also carry a bacterium that causes serious plant diseases.

TPP has not been detected in the Northern Territory (NT) or other eastern states, but it is an established pest in Western Australia.

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This nation-wide project is being led by the Western Australian Government to improve early detection of TPP in each state and territory. This targeted surveillance also helps to support NT fruit and vegetable growers by providing confidence that their produce is free of the pest. An incursion of TPP is likely to enter through a major port or produce market and establish in an urban area before spreading to regional areas. That’s why we’re focusing on home and community gardens in Darwin and Palmerston.

We are also interested in the pest Asian citrus psyllid which damages citrus and curry leaf trees. The traps used for TPP will also attract this pest, so if you have these plants in your garden let us know on the registration form.

By participating in this research, you will contribute data to a valuable national project. And of course receive a free tomato plant.

At the end of April, you’ll need to collect your free tomato plant and ‘adopt a trap’ pack from Berrimah Farm (if you can’t pick it up, we’ll organise delivery). The pack will include traps (a sticky sheet contained in a small plastic frame), postage paid envelopes and instructions, to equip you to set up the trap in the tomato plant at home.

The program runs for four weeks. At the end of each trapping week, simply fill out a form, pop this and the used trap in a self-addressed envelope and put it in a post box. Our team of entomologists at Berrimah Farm will then get to work identifying any insects stuck to the traps.

If you have the space and would like to adopt more than one trap, that’s fine with us. We’ll supply you with more tomato plants for your efforts.

There are two trapping periods in 2021; in May and August. If you are available for both of these, please let us know.

We will also be looking for volunteers to help us again in 2022.

For more information read the:

Registrations are now closed.

You don’t need to have a garden to be involved. A sunny spot where you can keep and care for a pot plant is all you need. We are also inviting schools, community gardens and nurseries to participate.

Interested? Please fill in the online form or contact the Plant Biosecurity team for more information.

If you have any questions about the project, contact Plant Biosecurity on 08 8999 2045 or email andrea.sinclair2@nt.gov.au or sally.heaton@nt.gov.au.

Download the information poster PDF (717.3 KB) to display at your school or community garden.


Last updated: 21 April 2021

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