Protect New South Wales from exotic pests

Primefact number: 1315   Edition: 1st   Published: August 2013   Author: Plant Biosecurity & Product Integrity

Exotic plant pests and diseases threaten New South Wales agriculture, horticulture, environment and economy. Protecting our way of life in New South Wales is everybody’s business.

You can help detect exotic pests at an early stage and reduce their impact by reporting unusual symptoms and pests.

Exotic plant pests and diseases may enter New South Wales through many pathways. Spread of exotic plant pests and diseases can occur from freight entering from overseas or interstate, travellers and even the natural spread of a pest species.

Early detection is essential to increase the chance of successful eradiation or containment.

Easy and practical steps on what to do if you suspect that you’ve seen an exotic plant pest are:

What to look out for

It can be difficult to know what is a common pest or disease and what is an exotic plant pest or disease.

Here are a few points to help you decide whether to call the EPP Hotline 1800 084 881. Remember if in doubt call.

  • Is this the first time you’ve noticed this symptom, pest or disease?
  • Is the pest or disease causing significant damage to the plant?
  • Is the damage which is being caused by the pest unusual?
  • Are you unable to find the pest in any Australian gardening or pest management book?
  • Does the pest or disease resemble any exotic plant pest or disease that you are aware of?

Who to contact

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the above questions, call the EPP Hotline 1800 084 881.

Email clear photos with a brief description of the situation and your contact details to

Although Biosecurity NSW staff are always looking out for exotic plant pests and diseases, you can help by reporting any unusual symptoms or pest.

What information to provide

Biosecurity NSW staff will need to know what kind of plant is being damaged. Provide the common name for the plant and the variety or cultivar if possible. If you know the scientific name provide that also.

You will need to provide a detailed description of the disease symptoms or the pest and the damage it is causing. Some questions you may need to answer are:

  • What sort of damage can you see on the plant(s)?
  • How much damage has been caused?
  • Can you see a pest which might be causing the damage?
  • If so, what does the pest look like?
  • Is the pest present in high numbers?

What to do next

You should mark the affected plant or group of plants with surveyors tape, coloured string or waterproof spray paint so that the plants can be found again and samples collected.

Isolate the area by restricting people moving or working near the affected plant.

Take a clear photo of the damage and the pest and email the clear photos with a brief description and your contact details to

If samples for diagnostic purposes are required Biosecurity NSW will advice you on how to take a sample or arrange a Biosecurity NSW person to take samples.

Do not move the pest, plant or plant parts until you have consulted with Biosecurity NSW staff and are sure that the pest or disease is not an exotic plant pest.

What happens if it is an exotic plant pest

If the plant pest is an important pest or disease, Biosecurity NSW will inform you on the steps to be taken.

New South Wales is a signatory to the government and industry agreement on exotic plant pest incursions called the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD).

Biosecurity NSW adheres to PLANTPLAN for the response to an exotic plant pest detection.