Check citrus trees for wasp pest

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Gingin citrus grower Mick Mann wants gardeners to inspect their citrus trees for citrus gall wasp to help ensure quality fruit for everyone. Picture: DPIRD

GINGIN and Yanchep gardeners are being urged to inspect their citrus trees for signs of citrus gall wasp, a pest which will be on the move as the weather warms up.

Gingin citrus grower Mick Mann said he could not emphasise enough the importance of community surveillance, to protect the agriculture and food sector in WA from biosecurity threats.

“Citrus gall wasp costs eastern states growers a significant amount each year due to control costs and production losses from reduced fruit size, tree vigour and yield, while extreme infestations cause branch dieback and tree death,” Mr Mann said.

“It’s important to work together to make sure this pest does not threaten our local WA citrus industry, export markets and growers’ livelihoods.’’

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said citrus gall wasp was found on the east coast but was considered an introduced pest in Western Australia, which could threaten the state’s citrus orchards.

The pest was first found in WA in 2013 and since then has been detected in several gardens in the north eastern suburbs, as well as the Swan Valley, but has yet to become established in WA’s citrus growing regions.

The department recently updated its website with additional information about how to identify, report and stop the spread of citrus gall wasp, which affects all types of citrus.

Citrus gall wasps cause woody galls up to 250mm long and 25mm thick on citrus twigs. Picture: DPIRD
Citrus gall wasps cause woody galls up to 250mm long and 25mm thick on citrus twigs. Picture: DPIRD

Technical officer Kevin Lacey said spring was an ideal time to monitor backyard citrus trees.

“Now is the time of the year when the pest’s distinctive galls, or nests, start to appear on stems as woody bulges about one to two centimetres long,” he said.

“The galls contain hundreds of larvae, which emerge as tiny black wasps from mid-September to early November.

Report signs of citrus gall wasp via the free MyPestGuide™ reporter app or to the department’s pest and disease information service on 9368 3080 or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au