Tomato potato psyllid information for beekeepers

By The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia

The emergency plant pest tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) has been found in Australia for the first time, with confirmed detections on commercial and residential properties in the Perth metropolitan area and in some regional areas.

Tomato potato psyllid is an exotic plant pest which feeds on a range of Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae plants, including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, tamarillo and sweet potato. The weeds nightshade, African boxthorn, groundcherry, matrimony vine and field bindweed are also hosts of the pest.

The psyllid is a tiny sap-sucking insect with three stages of development – egg, nymph and adult. Adults and nymphs cause injury to plants with their sucking mouth parts when feeding.

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Chemical treatments for the pest and impact on bees

A revised Quarantine Area Notice came into effect on Monday, 27 March 2017. 

The advised treatments include the insecticides Abamectin, Alpha-cypermethrin, Bifenthrin, Methomyl, Spirotetramat. 

These chemical applications are likely to be in addition to normal prophylactic spraying for management of other existing pests. 

The active constituents, concentration, application rate and intended use of the pesticides are a danger to bees. 

Apiarists should be aware that these chemicals may be in use on commercial properties with solanaceaous plants and take appropriate measures including relocation of hives if considered at risk. 

Measures to protect bees

  • Ensure all your hives are branded with your unique registered identifier.
  • For apiaries kept on land not belonging to the beekeeper, the apiary must have signage erected (visible to all persons approaching the apiary) bearing their full name, telephone number, registered hive identifier, and street address of place of residence or business.
  • Ensure your bees always have access to adequate clean water.
  • Familiarise yourself with pesticides that are being used in your area and what their application dates are as you may need to relocate your hives during period of treatment. You may wish to speak with your neighbouring horticultural growers or refer to the Quarantine Area notice to get this information.
  • Consider relocating hives that may be repeatedly exposed to hazardous pesticides.
  • If you are providing pollination services for crops, please liaise with the grower directly regarding their chemical regime and appropriate timing for your pollination program.

 For more information, contact Andrea Johnston, DAFWA Project Officer/Apiary Officer, by emailing [email protected] or calling (08) 9363 4131.


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