Exotic psyllid outbreak in WA puts the NT on guard

Wilting tomato caused by TPP

Wilting tomato caused by TPP

The tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) was recently detected in commercial crops and backyard gardens in Perth, Western Australia. TPP is a known host of zebra chip, a bacterium which causes significant impacts plant production. Neither TPP nor zebra chip have been found in the NT to date. Biosecurity officers are asking growers to keep an eye out for unusual symptoms on plants in the Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae families. These include potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, along with sweet potato and some weed species such as nightshade.

What should I look for?

  • Damage on the underside of leaves.
  • Insects jumping from the foliage when disturbed.
  • Severe wilting of plants caused by high numbers of psyllids feeding.
  • Yellowing of leaf margins and upward curling of the leaves caused by the injection of salivary toxins.
  • A sticky liquid called honeydew, which coats plants, and can lead to the sooty mould.
  • Stem death symptoms similar to other potato and tomato disorders.

What should I do?

  • Check your clothes and hair after gardening for hitchhiking physllids.
  • Regularly inspect crops for pests or diseases.
  • Remove any weeds or unwanted plants from crops or garden beds.
  • Disposing of any plant material in a way to prevent spread of pests and disease.
  • Cleaning all equipment after use to remove soil and plant material.
  • Report anything suspicious.
  • Avoid using sprays or disturbing suspected plants until they have been inspected by an NT Plant Biosecurity Officer.
  • Report any suspect pests or diseases to NT Quarantine on 1800 084 881 or via email quarantine@nt.gov.au. Visit the Farm Biosecurity website for more information.

Last updated: 03 April 2017

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