Pine wood nematodes (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) found in wooden packaging material originating from Portugal – operators are asked to notify Evira in order to target the inspections


<div>Live pine wood nematodes have been found in wooden packaging material from Portugal during inspections carried out by Evira. Pine wood nematode is a dangerous pathogen of pine forests. In Europe it is only found in Portugal. The inspections will be targeted at packaging material from Portugal.</div>

The EU Commission prompted all of the member countries to inspect Portuguese wooden packaging material after the Swedish plant control authority had reported to the Commission of their findings of pine wood nematode in August this year.

The samples taken from the wooden packaging material used for the transportation of goods were analysed in the Plant Analysis Laboratory. In the study that was confirmed on September 18th live pine wood nematodes were found in two samples. The packaging will be destroyed by burning under the supervision of the authorities.

Within the EU, it is only known that the pine wood nematode occurs in the forests in Portugal, where the first observations were made in 1999. Despite all the control measures the pine wood nematode has spread widely there.

The pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) is a microscopically small nematode which lives in conifers. It causes contaminated trees to wilt and then to die. The pine wood nematode spreads with the help of certain forest insects, mainly the sawyer beetles (Monochamus spp.). Larval tunnels of the vector insects were not noted in the analysed wooden packaging. The flight phase of the sawyer beetles in Finland is about to end, which reduces the risk of spreading.

The inspections will continue in order to be able to ensure that the pine wood nematode can not spread to the Finnish forests. In order to target the inspections, Evira’s plant control is asking the operators who import products from Portugal that are transported in wooden packaging material to report any wooden packaging material in their possession either by e-mail to the address:
or by phone to:
Senior Officer Otto Hukka, Evira, tel. +358 20 77 25160.

For additional information, please contact:
Head of Unit Hannu Kukkonen, tel. +358 20 77 25030
Senior Researcher Jyrki Tomminen, tel. +358 40 725 7236 (laboratory analyses)

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