Tomato potato psyllid: Researcher warns incursion inevitable on the east coast of Australia

Bactericera cockerelli, nymph cases, nymph and adultA researcher says it’s inevitable a destructive insect that has threatened tomato and potato crops in Western Australia will make it to the east coast. The tomato potato psyllid feeds on tomato, potato, capsicum, chilli, eggplant and sweet potato crops, and was first found in Western Australia in February. Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture PhD candidate Raylea Rowbottom co-ordinated workshops in Queensland to raise awareness about the pest. “The biggest problem is that they still don’t know how the psyllid got into the Western Australia area so it’s possible it could turn up at any time (on the east coast),” she said. “Especially given they’re not even sure if it came across on the wind, so the risk is still there. “Really it’s only a matter of time I think before we do get the psyllid.” She said the nature of the insect meant it could travel east on a variety of hosts. Rowbottom said the insect was difficult to detect, and she urged farmers to join surveillance programs. More