UPDATE: National TPP and zebra chip surveillance project

Thursday, 17 June 2021

The Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is an exotic pest that was first detected in Perth, Western Australia in February 2017, and has more recently been detected across regional areas of WA, with the exception of the Kimberley region in the north.

The tiny sap-sucking insect poses a significant risk to the nursery industry as it reduces crop yield and spreads the bacterial plant disease ‘zebra chip’ in potato, caused by Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) bacterium.

Led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, and funded by Hort Innovation, the ‘National tomato potato psyllid and zebra chip surveillance’ project (MT18008) commenced in 2019, aiming to support critical national surveillance, identification, and reporting programs for TPP and CLso across Australia.

Caption: TPP on the back of a capsicum leaf

Due to growing season delays and COVID-19 border restrictions impacting trap deployment and reporting, the project has been extended by six months and is now expected to end in January 2023.

Since the December 2020 project update, the most recent findings are:

  • No TPP has been found in NSW, TAS, VIC, SA, QLD, NT, or Kununurra (WA) during the Autumn-Winter 2021 sampling to date
  • No detections of CLso in Western Australia
  • Davenport, Tasmania has been added to the sampling centre areas
  • Traps were swapped over to yellow-green coloured sticky traps to increase the potential for capturing other exotic species, particularly Asian Citrus Psyllid.

The continual surveillance for TPP helps to detect and enable eradication of new incursions and provides early warning in the event that the devastating plant bacterium CLso is detected. Early detection will reduce the risk of financial yield and crop loss.

Caption: Trap set in an urban garden

To report possible TPP findings, check out the available resources at: MyPestGuide Report App

More information on the Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is available here.

If you’re interested in participating in the project and are located within metro basin areas in any state or territory, contact Dr Melinda Moir, project lead from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development here.

The ‘National tomato potato psyllid and zebra chip surveillance’ (MT18008) project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable, fresh potato and potato processing research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government.