Pantry Blitz: supporting WA biosecurity

24th March 2021 | Eativity editors

Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is calling on citizen scientists to register for the 2021 Pantry Blitz biosecurity surveillance campaign to help protect the state’s agriculture industry from exotic pests and diseases.

The blitz, which runs from March 22 to April 18, provides an opportunity to survey household pantries for “creepy crawlies” and report them to the DPIRD for identification.

Interested Pantry Blitz participants can sign up via the department’s website to receive a free insect trap. Contributors will get a full diagnosis of what their specimen is and whether it poses a risk to their garden or the broader agriculture industry and the environment.

Dr McCauley encourages people to sign up for Pantry Blitz to find out what “creepy crawlies” are lurking.

DPIRD senior development officer Rosalie McCauley says the Pantry Blitz campaign provides an opportunity for participants to discover what small critters might be lurking on their property, and is a valuable tool that can help to discover any unwanted potential plant pests and diseases that could pose a biosecurity risk.

“These tiny pests can be expert hitchhikers, making their way past WA’s borders unseen, hidden inside shipping containers and furniture,” Dr McCauley says. “Your pantry could be a pit stop along their journey, while the next stop could be your backyard fruit tree, garden or local park – on their way to devastate our forests, paddocks and orchards.

“We encourage everyone to get involved and inspect their pantry and wider environment for any insects or signs of disease and report them to the department for identification.”

DPIRD staff compare a Pantry Blitz report with insect specimens.

The public’s involvement in Pantry Blitz 2021 is crucial to provide verifiable evidence on the absence and presence of pests and diseases in WA to support the state’s access to valuable export markets. So far, 650 traps have been posted to people who’ve registered, and there will be another mail-out of traps to people who register by the March 26 deadline.

Reports are made via the DPIRD’s free MyPestGuideTM Reporter app, which gives each report scientific validity, with the addition of photos, a barcode, timestamp and location.

For more information about the Pantry Blitz and how to download the MyPestGuideTM Reporter app, head to agric.wa.gov.au/pantryblitz2021

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