Tag Archives: pests

New EU guidance on potato tuber pest

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Plant Health has categorised the Guatemalan potato tuber moth (Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)) as a Union quarantine pest for the EU.

  1. solanivora, which feeds exclusively on Solanum tuberosum, was first described in Costa Rica in 1973 and has spread through Central and northern South America via the trade in seed potatoes. It has also spread to Mexico, the Canary Islands and mainland Spain where it is under official control in Galicia and Asturias.
  2. solanivora is currently regulated by Council Directive 2000/29/EC, listed in Annex II/AI as Scrobipalpopsis solanivora. Larvae feed and develop within potato tubers; infested tubers therefore provide a pathway for pest introduction and spread, as does the soil accompanying potato tubers if it is infested with eggs or pupae.

Defra has published a fact sheet on the Guatemalan potato tuber moth, but EFSA points out that there are uncertainties over the effectiveness of preventing illegal imports via passenger baggage and the magnitude of potential impacts in the cool EU climate.

Photo Credit: Cornell University

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New measures to control Epitrix in Scotland

New measures have come into place to protect the UK potato industry from the threat of Epitrix beetles.

EU emergency measures are already in place requiring potatoes moving from an effected area to be either washed or brushed to remove excess soil. However, there have been nine UK interceptions of Epitrix damaged potatoes, leading Defra to introduce a requirement, through the Plant Health (England) (Amendment) Order 2016, that all potatoes from Spain must be washed before being exported to the UK. This requirement came into effect on 24 February 2016. The aim is to kill or remove any Epitrix which might be present, as well as removing soil in which some life stages of the pest could be present.

Following a consultation by the Scottish Government in November last year, similar legislation will come into effect for Scottish landing ports from 21 March 2016.


Photo Credit: Defra (© Conceição Boavida Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos, Portugal)

The post New measures to control Epitrix in Scotland appeared first on Hort News on 26 Feb 2016.

Crop pests may be smarter than thought

A new research paper suggests that species of crop pest may be able to evolve quickly enough to cope with climate change, making many current prediction models worthless.

In a new synthesis, published in the Annual Review of Phytopathology, Dr Dan Bebber from the department of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, examines the gaps in knowledge which mean that models based only on climate, designed to predict where crop pests and pathogens are likely to end up, can be misleading.

Using the example of Colorado potato beetle, Dr Bebber pointed out that one leading climate change computer model predicted it would be unable to establish in Kazakhstan and western China. In fact, the pest spread rapidly through the region – entering Xinjiang Province in China from Kazakhstan around 1992.

Dr Bebber said, “Our review has highlighted how difficult it is to predict where damaging crop pests may turn up. Their ability to evolve tolerance to different climates has been investigated in only a few species but has not been considered in distribution models. We now urgently need to improve monitoring and identification of these pests, particularly in the developing world, both for research and to secure food production.”

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