TPP Surveillance Update

Tomato Potato Psyllidd (TPP) is an exotic pest.  Although only tiny at 3mm in length, this sap-sucking insect is considered a major biosecurity threat for vegetable growers.

An adult TPP resembles a miniature cicada or a winged aphid.  It has a dark, brownish coloured body with white or sometimes yellow markings, and transparent wings which are held vertically over its body.  When disturbed, the adult TPP gives a characteristic wiggle of the abdomen and then jumps vertically or takes flight.

TPP has a wide host range – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, chillies, eggplants, tamarillos and sweetpotatos – and is easily spread via plant and equipment, plant materials, by wind and/or by its own means (flight!).  It therefore has all the hallmarks of pest potential to cause significant vegetable losses.

Signs and symptoms of a TPP infestation include;

  • adult psyllids jumping from foliage when disturbed
  • severe wilting of plants caused by psyllids feeding
  • stunting and yellowing of growth tips, and/or yellowing of leaf margins
  • cupping or upward curling of leaves
  • small white sugar-like granules coating leaves and stems, attracting ants and sometimes the growth of sooty mould.

Early season detection and management is critical to minimise psyllid reproduction and spread. Both commercial vegetable growers and backyard gardeners are urged to check for signs of TPP.  Plant Health Australia, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Agriculture Victoria have an excellent range of images of TPP in the various stages of development online, to assist in accurate identification.

TPP was detected in Western Australia last year, leading to a significant expansion of TPP surveillance by each State government throughout the country.  The TPP Surveillance Overview Program supported this surveillance effort through the provision of more than 3,000 sticky traps to interested industry stakeholders to monitor for TPP.

Between April 2017 and 2018 over 1,100 traps have been returned to TIA and assessed. No TPP were detected.

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), 30 April 2018

Surveillance is an extremely important aspect of TPP monitoring – all data collected from these traps is used to support each state in Area Freedom (AF) certificates as proof of TPP absence. AF certificates and evidence of TPP surveillance are needed to maintain access to trade markets.

The TPP Surveillance Overview Program is operated by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) with funding by Hort Innovation.  The TPP surveillance program has been extended for a further two months until a national approach to TPP surveillance is developed.

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetables Growers can supply growers with a monitoring kit; TIA will continue to assess returned sticky traps until the end of July. For a sticky trap monitoring kit to be sent to you, contact BFVG’s VegNET Officer Michelle Haase.  To stay up to date with the TPP Surveillance Program, check out the UTAS website – here – or email the Project Coordinator Raylea Rowbottom.

Reporting of TPP is mandatory and can be done by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 132 523 or the 24 hour emergency pest hotline – 1800 084 881.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

Information supplied by Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture –  Images courtesy of Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.



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