PEST control can be an endless but necessary task for gardeners and now there is potentially one more opponent to add to the list.
Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) was found in WA for the first time earlier this year and has prompted a national biosecurity response.
The small insect feeds on a range of plants including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, goji berries, capsicums, chillies, tamarillos and sweet potatoes.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development are asking Perth residents to help fight TPP by putting a ‘sticky trap’ in their backyard.
Senior research officer Darryl Hardie said warmer weather was conducive to increased TPP activity, prompting surveillance efforts to ramp up.
“We are calling on the Perth community to support our surveillance efforts by ‘adopting-a-trap’ in their garden during spring,” Hardie said.
“We are looking for home gardeners from across the Perth metropolitan area, as well Wanneroo, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Mundaring, Mandurah, Gingin, Chittering and Murray, who grow potatoes, capsicums, tomatoes or chillies in their gardens.
“If you don’t have these plants – that’s not a problem.
“This dedicated trapping program will build our knowledge about this insect and its presence in WA, to support our valuable horticulture industry in managing this new pest.
“Trapping will allow our scientists to test these insects to see if they carry a damaging plant bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum.”
The bacteria is associated with TPP in other parts of the world, but has not been found to date in Australia and neither the psyllid nor the bacteria pose a risk to human health.
The ‘sticky trap’ is yellow, smaller than an A4 sheet of paper and mounted on a garden stake near plants.
It is coated in non-toxic glue so insects stick to it, and is covered with a bird-proof protective cage.
Hardie said residents participating in the program would receive a chilli, capsicum or tomato seedling for their efforts.
Interested participants can register to adopt a trap online at www.agric.wa.gov.au/tpp, phone 9368 3080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.