In spring 2014, quarantine pests and diseases were only found in greenhouse production

16.6.2014

<p>In inspections carried out by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira in spring 2014, quarantine pests and diseases were only found in greenhouse production sites. Sweet potato whiteflies and virus diseases of plants have spread to farms. No quarantine pests or diseases were found in timber.</p>

The sweet potato whitefly is a dangerous pest as the viruses transmitted by it can spread new diseases to plants. These diseases would be particularly harmful to professional tomato and cucumber production. However, no pests were found in vegetable production sites.

In the spring season, the pest spread to 27 nurseries along with the seedlings of 27 overseas mandevilla for the production of summer flowers. However, the extent of the pest in the summer flowers was smaller than in 2013. The sweet potato whitefly is found each year in poinsettia production sites in the autumn season.

Imported seedlings of begonia and senetti were found to carry the impatiens necrotic spot tospovirus (INSV) in four nurseries and the tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (TSWV) in ten nurseries, as well as in senetti seedlings. These viruses impair the quality of ornamentals and spoil the vegetable harvest. It is difficult to prevent virus diseases, and therefore the only way is to destroy the infected plants. In the spring season of 2014, viruses were detected at a total of 14 nurseries, while last year there were only two occurrences.

‘We were successful in the prevention of quarantine pests and diseases in greenhouses, and we managed to eradicate the pests without extensive destruction of plants. The state of plant health continues to be good,’ says Senior Officer Ulla Oksanen of Evira.

No quarantine pests or diseases were found in timber or wooden packaging material

Evira inspects imported timber and wooden packaging material in case of quarantine pests, such as the pine wood nematode, which destroys conifers. It occurs in North America and, for example, in China and Japan. In Europe, it has spread to Portugal and some areas of Spain. The pine wood nematode spreads to new areas along with wooden packaging material, due to which the packaging material must be treated in order to destroy any pests hiding in the timber.

One batch of packaging material was turned away at the border as it was found to contain live, albeit harmless nematode species. The discovery of live nematodes gave reason to suspect that the timber had not been heated to a sufficient degree in order to destroy the pine wood nematode. In addition, one shipment of larch from Russia was turned away at the border as the timber was found to contain holes made by Asian long-horned beetle.

The Asian long-horned beetle is an insect that destroys hardwood trees. It can spread via wooden packages. Wooden packaging material originating from China, especially that containing stoneware, was inspected during the spring, but no pests were detected.

The extent of damage caused by quarantine pests and diseases is financially significant, and their prevention is particularly difficult. Evira determines how quarantine pests and diseases are destroyed.

Related topics:
Quarantine pests and diseases

Further information:
Senior Officer Ulla Oksanen, tel. +358 40 511 7274 (greenhouse production)
Senior Officer Sanna Välimäki, tel. +358 50 384 9612 (timber)

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