Perth gardeners have been urged to inspect their citrus trees for signs of citrus gall wasp, a pest which will be on the move as the weather warms up.
Citrus gall wasp is found on the east coast but it is considered an introduced pest in Western Australia, which could threaten the State’s valuable citrus orchards.
The pest was first found in WA in 2013 and since then has been detected in several gardens in the north eastern suburbs, as well as the Swan Valley, but has yet to become established in WA’s citrus growing regions.
The WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development recently updated its website with additional information about how to identify, report and stop the spread of citrus gall wasp, which affects all types of citrus.
Technical officer Kevin Lacey said spring was an ideal time to monitor backyard citrus trees and support the department’s annual Biosecurity Blitz campaign from 18-30 September 2017.
“Now is the time of the year when the pest’s distinctive galls, or nests, start to appear on stems as woody bulges about one to two centimetres long,” Mr Lacey said.
“The galls contain hundreds of larvae, which emerge as tiny black wasps from mid-September to early November.
“The community can support the department’s surveillance efforts by participating in Biosecurity Blitz by reporting signs of citrus gall wasp via the free MyPestGuide™ Reporter app.”
Biosecurity Blitz runs from 18-30 September 2017 to raise awareness about the importance of the shared responsibility of community, government and industry in surveillance to protect the State from pests and to ensure market access.
Gingin citrus grower Mick Mann said he could not emphasise enough the importance of community surveillance, to protect the agriculture and food sector in WA from biosecurity threats.
“Citrus gall wasp costs eastern states growers a significant amount each year due to control costs and production losses from reduced fruit size, tree vigour and yield, while extreme infestations cause branch dieback and tree death,” Mr Mann said.
“It’s important to work together to make sure this pest does not threaten our local WA citrus industry, export markets and growers’ livelihoods.
“Keeping our citrus trees healthy, either in the backyard or in our orchards, means good fruit to eat for everyone.”
The MyPestGuide Reporter app allows users to take up to four photographs of the pest or symptoms and sends the report directly to the department for identification. In return, experts provide information about biosecurity pests, and its control.
Source: WA DPIRD