01 Dec

Australia: Watch for major olive pest

The Department of Agriculture and Food is reminding growers that now is the time to be checking olive trees for signs of Olive lace bug.

Department olive industry development officer Dick Taylor said olive lace bug was an established pest on all mainland States in Australia except the Northern Territory.

Mr Taylor said in severe infestations the pest could cause substantial leaf drop from trees which reduced tree vigour and production.

“Most leaf damage occurs from the sucking activity of the bugs,” he said.

“Those signs of olive lace bug feeding can be looked for now and throughout summer.

“Where olive lace bug is present, upper leaf surfaces of infested trees have yellow mottling, with blackish smears on the undersurface.

“Prompt reporting of olive lace bug and treatment is necessary to stop its further spread and minimise the impact on the WA olive industry.”

Mr Taylor said the adult bug was blackish-brown with some cream, and was approximately three millimetres long with long black-tipped antennae and wings held flat over the body.

“The nymphs are generally oval in shape, wingless and vary from light green to an orange colour and are almost black in the final instar,” he said.

“Olive lace bug can produce up to three generations per year in the Western Australian climate and populations may peak as late as May.

“In a mild winter, in addition to the higher survival rate of eggs, there may be some continued slow breeding of the pest.”

Mr Taylor said there were a range of control and prevention methods that could be used for olive lace bug.

“A number of chemicals both with registration and minor use permits are recommended for control of olive lace bug and growers should consult chemical suppliers or check the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website before treatment,” he said.

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