Serpentine leafminer detected in SE Queensland

The exotic pest serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis), also known as pea leafminer or South American leafminer, has been found in a commercial vegetable crop in the Fassifern Valley (about 90 km south-west of Brisbane). This follows a confirmed detection of the pest in western Sydney in early November 2020.

Serpentine leafminer poses a serious economic threat to Australia’s horticulture and nursery production plant industries. It has a wide host range including broccoli, beet, spinach, peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, melons and cut flowers.

Its larvae feed internally on plant tissue, particularly the leaf, causing distinctive mine damage which may appear as pale ‘squiggly’ or ‘serpentine’ patterns. Severe unmanaged infestations may result in premature leaf drop, poor growth and reduced crop yields.

The national technical committee that oversees the management of plant pest and disease incursions has determined that it is not technically feasible to eradicate this pest from Australia.

The department is working with industry to address the serious threat posed by the serpentine leafminer to Queensland’s plant industries.

Surveillance and tracing investigations indicate it is likely that the pest has already established outside the Fassifern Valley. Individual property quarantines are therefore unlikely to significantly slow the spread of serpentine leafminer and are not being considered as part of the current response to the outbreak in Queensland.

Planning is underway for a national workshop with research, development and extension experts to further explore control options and identify knowledge gaps to support industry in managing the pest and minimising its impact.

Producers and consultants are strongly encouraged to photograph and report suspect sightings of serpentine leafminer to us on 13 25 23. Information on the current extent of the outbreak may assist growers to prepare for its arrival.

Growers should have on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases. More information is available at farmbiosecurity.com.au  or biosecurity.qld.gov.au 

Find information about current control methods and recommended chemical management options here.

Visit our website for more information about serpentine leafminer including pest life cycle description, impacts and leafminer factsheets.

Source: DAF QLD

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