Community trappers support vital pest research


Territorians have provided vital research insights into a nation-wide project to improve early detection and reporting of Tomato potato psyllid (TPP), one of the world's most destructive horticultural pests across Australia.

The Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is an exotic plant pest that attacks a range of plants, including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, tamarillo and sweet potato. It also provides a pathway for the bacteria, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), which causes Zebra chip disease and psyllid yellows.

In 2017, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD WA), detected TPP in their state. Since then, there has been considerable work to manage this pest to support domestic trade.

Over 100 backyard growers in the Territory volunteered to become ‘trappers’ for the program by collecting information on the pest in their backyard.

Each ‘trapper’ was asked to collect a tomato plant and traps, install the MyPestGuideTM Reporter app and to rotate a set of traps attached to their plant with a specific lure for attracting TPP.

Fortunately, in 2020, trappers didn’t capture any TPP from any location in the Territory. Only a few native psyllids and some other common insects were captured on the traps.

Trapping will kick off again in 2021 and the department will again be seeking community participation. Vital participation by community ‘trappers’ into this research program contributes towards declaring the Northern Territory free of TPP and CLso.

A strong biosecurity system is everyone’s responsibility and involves community, industry and government. It helps us identify and manage biosecurity threats early to keep our communities viable, our farms profitable, and to protect our way of life now and for future generations.

More information

Find out more about TPP

Contact our entomology team at NT Biosecurity on 08 8999 2259.

2020 is the International Year of Plant Health. Help us protect plants by reporting anything suspicious to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

A Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) trap

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