Tomato potato psyllid

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is a serious exotic pest that affects a range of horticultural produce including:

  • potato
  • tomato
  • eggplant
  • capsicum
  • chilli
  • tamarillo
  • goji berry
  • sweet potato.

The tiny sap sucking insect can:

  • affect plant growth
  • reduce crop yield
  • spread zebra chip bacterium (Candidates Liberibacter solanacearum) between plants.

TPP detection in Australia

In February 2017 the psyllid was identified for the first time in Australia in several Perth backyard vegetable crops and a commercial property north of Perth.

It has now been determined nationally that TPP cannot be eradicated in Australia.

To date TPP has not been detected in South Australia or any other states.

Help keep South Australia TPP free – complete a simple weekly report using the online plant pest report form.

South Australian import controls

South Australia has import controls in place on plant material, fruit and vegetables and associated planting media, machinery and equipment coming into the state from WA.

Western Australian producers cannot send host produce and associated items into South Australia unless certification conditions have been met.

The ban requirements:

  • reduce the risk of the psyllid and zebra chip bacterium reaching South Australia
  • are consistent with controls applied by other states.

Produce and live plant material at risk of carrying zebra chip bacterium is not allowed entry into South Australia.

Zebra chip bacterium can persist in plants after the psyllid has been controlled.

Western Australian operations

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) has quarantined affected properties. A quarantine area notice issued for the Perth metropolitan area remains in place to help prevent the spread of the psyllid. More information is available on the DAFWA website.

Since the initial detection of TPP interstate movement controls for risk material have been in place and continue to apply. Western Australia is working with other state and territory governments to develop protocols to support future interstate movements of risk material.

South Australian surveillance operation

PIRSA has commenced a surveillance operation of commercial horticultural properties across the state. This operation is essential to:

  • protect the state’s $1b horticultural industry and its producers
  • maintain pest free area status recognition
  • prevent quarantine restrictions to trade.

How commercial growers can help keep SA free from TPP

Regular sampling for TPP shows SA crops remain pest free and are attractive to trading markets.

Commercial growers can help by:

Learn how to collect samples for TPP:

If you observe anything unusual please phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Identifying tomato potato psyllid

TPP size comparison with a five cent coin.
TPP size comparison with a five cent coin.
TPP nymphs, nymph cases and adults on the underside of tomato leaf.
TPP nymphs, nymph cases and adults on the underside of tomato leaf.
TPP nymph cases and adults.
TPP nymph cases and adults.

Photo credit: WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Adults

Adults resemble small winged cicadas and are about 3mm long.

The body is brownish and has white or yellowish markings on the thorax and a broad white band on the abdomen. Wings are transparent and held vertically over the body.

Nymphs

Nymphs are 2mm long, oval shaped, flattened and scale-like in appearance. Young nymphs are yellow with a pair of red eyes and three pairs of short legs. Older nymphs are greenish and fringed with hairs and have visible wing buds.

Eggs

Psyllid eggs are less than 1mm long and are attached to the plant by a short vertical thread. They are usually laid on the lower surface of leaves or along the leaf stalk. Eggs are white when first laid then turn yellow to orange after a few hours.

The psyllid can spread through the movement of plant produce. It can also disperse through natural pathways such as flight and wind.

Further information

Page Last Reviewed: 01 May 2017
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