Zebra chip disease, caused by Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous and vectored by the tomato potato psyllid (TPP), Bactericera cockerelli, is a devastating disease of potato and other Solanaceous crops. Its discovery in New Zealand in 2006 and subsequent spread throughout that country with associated major crop losses prompted significant industry concerns. In April 2014, B. cockerelli and ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’ were reported on Norfolk Island, further raising concerns that the pest complex could reach the Australian mainland. In February 2017, TPP was reported infesting plants in gardens and commercial glasshouses in the Perth metropolitan area, Western Australia. Subsequent surveys found that the psyllid was also present in regional areas outside Perth and it is now suspected that this pest may have been in WA for two or more years.

This project maintained a psyllid and psyllid predator trapping program across major production areas of eastern Australia for three consecutive cropping seasons (2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17). It also produced and disseminated industry relevant information to assist in recognition of the pest and damage it causes, and provided advice on action to be taken if suspect symptoms were seen and updates on the trapping program. The project was initiated as a continuation of PT10001 (Native Psyllid populations and the distribution of Candidatus phytoplasma australiense).