Tomato Potato Psyllid

What is it?

Tomato-potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) is an exotic plant pest. Psyllids are sap-sucking insects that on feeds on tomato, potato, capsicum, chilli, goji berry, tamarillo, eggplant and sweet potato.

How is it characterised?

General symptoms caused by tomato-potato psyllids feeding on most host plants include yellowing, cupping and narrowing of individual leaves and the development of a purple tinge.

How is it spread?

The psyllid can spread through the movement of plants and plant materials including fruit, vegetables and nursery stock, on horticultural machinery and equipment, and also by wind and flight.

Where is it found?

The tomato-potato psyllid is probably a native of Central America. It has spread to North America and has established in many states in the USA and Canada. TPP was detected in Western Australia in February 2017, prompting a comprehensive biosecurity response. This was the first time TPP had been found on mainland Australia. Other states around Australia have also implemented surveillance for TPP. To date, TPP has not been detected outside of Western Australia.

What is the potential cost to Australia?

This insect is a serious threat to Australia’s potato, tomato and capsicum crops. The tomato-potato psyllid has the potential to severely reduce yield and crop quality.

How is it treated?

Overseas experience has shown that currently the only effective approach to managing psyllid is to target the insect vector (organism) by using insecticides at planting (seed treatments) and by soil drenching and foliar applications during the cropping season.

How do I report it?

If you suspect tomato-potato psyllid, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

More information

For more information, visit tomato-potato psyllid.