Webinar 4: Looking out for pests in an urban garden

The latest webinar in the botanic gardens biosecurity webinar series was hosted by the Urban Plant Health Network (UPHN). 

Like the Botanic Gardens Biosecurity Network, the UPHN is an online community of practice.  

“Our ultimate aim is we want urban gardeners, particularly around Melbourne, to learn about, look out for and report plant pests,” said Jo Chong Wah, coordinator of the UPHN. 

“We do this by sharing information about plant pests as well as seasonal gardening tips through our websiteFacebook and  Twitter accounts.” 

The webinar featured three presentations on plant biosecurity in urban settings. 

The first presenter, Dr Jess Lye (cesar), set the scene for the webinar by using Melbourne as a case study to discuss why being plant biosecurity aware in cities is important. 

Plant biosecurity helps protect and maintain local food supply, biodiversity, natural areas, and our lifestyle.  

“It’s not just for farmers and governments to worry about, more and more it’s definitely a topic that should be talked about in cities,” said Jess. 

Implementing plant biosecurity in cities is crucial as they are a convergence point for the trade of goods and movement of international visitors which increases the risk of pest spread. 

Following Jess’s presentation, Maddy Quirk (AUSVEG) shared examples of members of the public reporting two important plant pests: brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and tomato potato psyllid (TPP).   

Finally, Tim Hurst (Agriculture Victoria) finished the webinar with a presentation on how to look out for and report pests in your garden. 

“It’s pretty easy, you just need to keep an eye out essentially,” said Tim. 

He suggests monitoring changes in your garden’s health, understanding what kind of exotic pests your plants could host and familiarising yourself with Australia’s national priority plant pests. 

“We don’t expect everyone to be an expert entomologist, but it’s knowing the difference between BMSB, for example, and your average household cockroach,” said Tim 

“People really can help. Never underestimate the importance of reporting something unusual in your garden.” 

He also introduces two ways of reporting in Australia: the MyPestGuide Reporter app and the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881).   

Watch the full webinar below to learn more about looking out for and reporting pests in urban gardens. 

This webinar was held as part of a series of webinars hosted by the Botanic Gardens Biosecurity Network. Watch the other webinars here.

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