TPP surveillance during the 2018-19 potato growing season

Tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) was detected in Western Australia in February 2017. The national response resulted in a Transition to Management period where the scope of TPP infestation was investigated. Market access for potato tubers from WA to rest of Australia ceased. To assist decision makers to remove the trade barriers placed on WA, evidence had to be gathered during the WA 2017-18 growing season and trapped TPP were tested for Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), the bacterium that is vectored by the psyllid and can cause zebra chip in potato.

All jurisdictions undertook TPP surveillance during the same time. The outcome was that no CLso was found in WA. Further data showed that the psyllid was not present in the rest of Australia, and by the end of 2018, all jurisdictions had approved market access for potato tubers from WA.

However, the need for ongoing national surveillance is now even more important because of the ongoing presence of TPP as the vector for CLso. As a result, jurisdictions have considered their TPP plans which they have implemented during 2018-19.

Western Australia
TPP surveillance commenced over a four-week period in October 2018. Traps were set in locations where the psyllid was identified as having high population levels during the previous surveillance round. A further monitoring period is scheduled for February/March 2019. A total of 1,960 TPP will be tested for CLso. Approximately 70 per cent of TPP was collected during October 2018, and no CLso was found. Results will be reported to the Plant Health Committee.

South Australia
During the 2018 growing season, over 100 properties were sampled with no TPP found.

The same surveillance plan will be repeated in 2019. A collaborative approach will be taken with government working with commercial properties from across susceptible commodities. This will provide a wide geographical sample of South Australia’s growing areas using sticky yellow traps. Results will be available in autumn 2019.

New South Wales
New South Wales has completed two seasons of TPP sticky trap surveillance in host production areas (broad acre and protected cropping), nurseries, community gardens and backyards across the state since 2016 (242 sites in 2016-17 and 245 sites in 2017-18). TPP has not been detected.

With industry highly engaged and educated on this pest, TPP surveillance in NSW is focusing on community gardens and nurseries primarily in the Sydney Basin, with supporting surveillance on the north and south coast planned for early 2019. To date, 12 community/school garden sites in Sydney have had sticky trap surveillance completed, with no TPP or other exotic psyllid species detected.

Victoria has commenced 2018-19 surveillance for TPP. Surveillance is being conducted across various host industries including tomato and potato crops, and across geographic locations that will include community gardens and backyards.

Victoria will once again be working with industry to co-deliver surveillance throughout key production areas. Surveillance will occur on 90 properties, building on the 300 properties that were surveyed last season.

Tasmania has conducted surveillance in urban areas across the state that are likely pathways for TPP. This builds on last year’s survey where the potato industry, along with nurseries and community gardens, was a focus. The survey will include a variety of hosts in backyards and also include some community gardens.

Kits, which include four yellow sticky traps, are being sent out to volunteers. Two traps were deployed in December/January and two traps in February/March. To date, about 50 properties have been nominated with new volunteer properties still requesting traps. The traps will be mapped and an assessment made on any pathway gaps where further surveillance may be needed. Industry surveys will be undertaken in the new year.

Queensland is continuing a specific surveillance program for TPP during 2018-19. The surveillance will include the use of yellow sticky traps in production areas on commercial properties growing TPP hosts, as well as in nurseries and urban areas within the state.

The number of properties to be surveyed in each production area will be dependent on the presence of host plants as well as the size of the area and number of growers in production.

The minimum number of properties to be surveyed in each production area is provided in the table below.

TPP surveillance areas – Queensland

A range of other general surveillance activities are also undertaken for TPP, including provision of awareness information on the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website, social media posts and investigation and diagnosis of suspect emergency plant pests and diseases.

Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory undertook limited psyllid surveillance around garden centres in 2017-18, on the request of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. ACT has no plans to do further surveillance unless requested by NSW.

Northern Territory
The Top End has commenced 2018-19 surveillance for TPP. Surveillance is being conducted across various host industries including tomato, capsicum, chillies, eggplant, potato and lucerne as part of general surveillance activities. This work will cover a range of geographic locations, including commercial properties, community gardens, backyards and nurseries.

It is planned that surveillance will occur on 137 properties and build on the targeted trapping work that was conducted last year across 61 properties as part of the Northern Territory’s area freedom processes.

For more information, please contact National TPP Coordinator Alan Nankivell at

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) National Program Coordinator has been funded by the fresh potato, potato processing and vegetable research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government. Project Number: MT16018

This article was reproduced by NGIA with the kind permission of AUSVEG.