De­struc­tive pest in Perth for first time

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOCAL SPORTS STARS -

HOME gar­den­ers are be­ing asked to keep an eye out for tomato potato psyl­lid, a de­struc­tive pest that has ar­rived in Aus­tralia for the first time.

De­tected in Perth in Fe­bru­ary, the tomato potato psyl­lid has since been found on more than 60 prop­er­ties, in­clud­ing in Bel­mont.

The psyl­lid feeds on a range of plants, in­clud­ing potato, tomato, egg­plant, cap­sicum, chilli, tamar­illo and sweet potato.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food has set up des­ig­nated con­trol and sup­pres­sion zones for res­i­dents in the Perth metropoli­tan area.

The con­trol zone means res­i­dents in the metropoli­tan area must not take se­lected home­grown veg­eta­bles, in­clud­ing tomato, egg­plant, cap­sicum, chilli and tamar­illo, into re­gional ar­eas.

Depart­ment chief plant biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer John van Scha­gen said re­stric­tions on the move­ment of non-com­mer­cial home­grown fruit and veg­eta­bles came into ef­fect on Mon­day.

“We are mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort to stop the spread of this pest and are urg­ing lo­cal res­i­dents in the af­fected zones to sup­port our valu­able hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­tries and make sure they don’t move this tar­geted home­grown pro­duce, out of the quar­an­tine area,” he said.

“The tomato potato psyl­lid is very de­struc­tive and we need to work to­gether to en­sure that we do what we can to re­duce the im­pacts on both home and com­mer­cial grow­ers. Com­ply­ing with these move­ment re­stric­tions is one way the com­mu­nity can help limit the spread of the pest into re­gional ar­eas.”

The psyl­lid does not pose a risk to hu­man health.

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Kens­ing­ton Sec­ondary School deputy prin­ci­pal Eu­gene Maguire and Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food of­fi­cer Don Telfer check over the school com­mu­nity veg­etable gar­den for tomato potato psyl­lid.

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