What is the best way to report a suspect pest?

Pest Warrior submits a report on his phone

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So, you find something in your garden that you haven’t seen before. Maybe you have heard us talk about exotic pests and the importance of early detection? Maybe you recognise it as similar to a pest you read about in one of our articles? You know you need to report this pest, but where exactly do you need to report it? And who receives and looks at the report? There are a few options to report a suspect pest, but they will all help in early detection of an exotic pest. 

If you find an unusual pest in a public location, on your property, or in the community there are three ways to report this to your state biosecurity officers

MyPestGuide Reporter App

The MyPestGuide Reporter is an app that is downloaded to your smartphone. It is an easy to use tool which allows you to take a snap of something unusual, upload it to the app and submit a report. If you are located in Victoria, the report will be received by Agriculture Victoria’s team of entomologists who will take a look and identify the pest. One of the team members will contact you if they require further information, need you to collect a sample, or need to collect a sample themselves. Regardless of whether the insect is exotic, the team will send a response back to you with further information about that insect and in some cases send links to websites with more information. Take a look at our quick video here on how easy it is to submit a report through MyPestGuide.

Agriculture Victoria Online Form

If you are located in Victoria, Agriculture Victoria has an online form which you can fill out. This is the preferred method of reporting suspect pests in Victoria as it is a Victoria specific reporting pathway. If the report is a biosecurity concern, contact will be made with the reporter as soon as it is received. The form allows you to attach some photographs of the pest so it can be identified. Good photos are important as it assists with identification of the pest. The report is then sent to the same team of entomologists who receive MyPestGuide reports. Access the online form

Exotic Plant Pest Hotline

Call 1800 084 881 to report a suspect pest through the Exotic Plant Pest hotline. This is a national hotline, however the call allows you to choose the relevant state or territory, and in the case of Victoria, connects you to the Customer Contact Centre who will take your details and the suspected pest information. The Chief Plant Health Officer Unit at Agriculture Victoria will be notified and will be in contact with you. The team will explain what the next steps will be to identify the pest or secure a sample. 

If you see anything unusual , call the exotic plant pest hotline 1800 084 881

 

If you see something unusual in anything imported from overseas the report needs to go to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

See. Secure. Report. hotline

Call the See. Secure. Report. hotline on 1800 798 636 to report any suspect pests which you have found on any imported cargo, containers or goods from overseas. You can also report it via their online form and biosecurity officers will be in contact with you. 

However you choose to report, every report is taken confidentially and will be followed up and every report strengthens our biosecurity. 

 

What do I need to report?

Anything which looks exotic, unusual or suspicious, or any pest which has arrived on or in the packaging of something imported from overseas. If you have read an article on the Urban Plant Health Network or listened to a podcast, and you know a pest is exotic and you see something similar in your backyard, report it. If you see something you have not seen before, report it. 

Should I take a sample?

Photographs go a long way to helping our experienced team identify insects, however sometimes a physical sample is required or we may need a photograph from a different angle to see important features. Therefore, if it is safe to do so, please collect the insect/s in a jar or container. This will make it easier to take another photo if the member of the team contacts you and will save the team time if they need to collect a physical sample from your location. 

What doesn’t need to be reported?

There are some pests which are non-notifiable. This means that the pest is classed as ‘endemic’ and doesn’t need to be reported. Some of these include:

  • Citrus gall wasp
  • Harlequin bugs
  • European wasps

If you find a spider and you aren’t sure what species it is, download the Spidentify app to your smartphone. This app is a spider identification assistant and field guide for mobile devices, with a step-by-step identification tool, detailed information and high resolution photographs of over 250 species of Australian spiders. If you still cannot identify what the species is, then it would be advisable to report via one of the state-based options above.

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