consultation dates list

Biosecurity Group Opens Proposed Pest Rate Consultation in Mundijong

There was some great conversations between landowners and Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) at the first public consultation for the proposed declared pest rate.

 

Pest Rate Consultation events list

 

A few larger landholders were concerned that landholders would be charged at a proportion of the unimproved value of their land (i.e. ad valorem). They were relieved to find out the charge would be a flat rate, and it would be fixed (i.e. not vary according to property size).

 

 

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group believe in a community wide approach to pest management and believe that a small flat/fixed rate for properties one hectare and above is fair. Controlling declared pests sustains the economic, environmental and amenity values of an area, protecting the reasons landholders chose to live there in the first place.

 

Landholders were encouraging towards education and engagement of the community. Many landholders who are committed to controlling pest animals and plants find trouble arises through shared property boundaries with absentee landholders and new lifestyle block owners. Many times a positive heads up with some help to find resources and to know where to start is all that is needed. The PHBG is committed to providing resources, support, and educational events to help landholders in the region learn about effective control options that are available.

 

 

The Peel Harvey region is large and covers many different land uses. This means pest priorities can change across the landscape.  While someone in Harvey may be focused on cotton bush, a resident in Serpentine may be most concerned about foxes. As a community based group with committee members from each Local Government Area the PHBG understands the complexities of declared pest management across the region. The PHBG is happy to discuss with landowners how the proposed pest rate can benefit them, as well as their community.

 

While it may be frustrating to think of the proposed declared pest rate as another ‘tax’ a landholder has to pay, realistically there is no secured, ongoing funding for the control of established declared pests. The big positive is for every dollar that a landholder contributes, the State Government will match it. All funds will be used specifically in the Peel Harvey region on declared pests, according to an operational budget that is approved annually.

 

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group has more consultation events planned across the Peel Harvey region – you can look on the PHBG website or Facebook page for more information. Alternatively you can email questions to comms.phbg@gmail.com.

two rabbits by fence

Community and Biosecurity Group helps rabbit virus spread across the Peel Harvey

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) along with 17 enthusiastic and eager land managers across the Peel Harvey region released the calicivirus just before Christmas.

In an effort that resembled trying to get the whole family together on Christmas Day,  PHBG Officers coordinated the delivery of rabbit pellets that helped interested land managers setup a pre-feeding and monitoring program prior to the distribution of the inoculated pellets.

two rabbits by fence

The Christmas virus

On December the 22nd, the virus was mixed and then delivered to 17 different sites for distribution over the next 24 hours.

“It was an interesting time to be releasing a bio-control agent thats for sure” Teele Hooper-Worrell, the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group’s Communication Officer says ” Some of the landowners were asking for dead rabbits as Christmas presents!  Many of the landowners involved with the release had already tried other control options without success.”

This release was the second of two coordinated by the PHBG in the Peel Harvey region in 2017.  The release of the RHDV1 K5 strain of the rabbit calicivirus is phase one of a 20 year rabbit biocontrol strategy.

The second release was planned in summer when common vectors, flies and mosquitos, are numerous and effective at spreading the virus. The Calicivirus can be spread up to 4km from an initial release site. If there are dead rabbits at a release site you can help to spread the virus yourself by moving the dead rabbit to a different active rabbit area. 

A biocontrol option is not the silver bullet and follow-up is necessary to maintain the control results over a longer period of time. Follow-up actions include fumigation and/or destruction of warrens, and follow up baiting. Studies have shown that these techniques not only remove rabbits entirely from an area but can also avoid re-population for up to 5 years.

 

Success

Release sites have already started to report dead rabbits from Cardup to Harvey.

Landowners are also actively sharing dead rabbits to enable the further spread of the virus – well, it is the season for giving

Flyer for the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Groups AGM

Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group Invites Community to AGM

The community is invited to the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Groups’ AGM on Wednesday 13th December. Light refreshments available at 5-6:30 with AgM 6:30-7:30. Come and see what the group has been doing in the Peel Harvey region to support the control of declared pests. More importantly what the group hopes to be doing in the future.

There will also be discussion on the second round release of the calicivirus.

 

Flyer for the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Groups AGM

Rabbits Vs RHDV1 K5 Virus – Round two

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group is coordinating a second release of the RHDV1 K5 Virus in the Peel region. The group will also be hosting a Rabbit Control Workshop to educate landowners on follow up management options, such as warren destruction and baiting, that can extend the effectiveness of the virus release.

Since the first recorded release of rabbits in 1859 wild rabbits have colonised most of Australia and occur in high numbers in many areas.

 

two rabbits by fence

Since the first recorded release of rabbits in 1859 wild rabbits have colonised most of Australia and occur in high numbers in many areas. Even if the density of rabbits is low, it can be enough to stop the regeneration of native vegetation. This is a key threatening process for some native plant species. Rabbits often out graze native animals and are attributed to the extinction of several small ground dwelling mammals.  Wild rabbits also cost the Australian Agricultural industry over 200 million a year in lost productivity.

The Centre for Invasive Species has outlined the rabbit problem for Australia in this short video which can be found on the Pest Smart website.

 

 

Early this year phase one of a 20 year rabbit biocontrol strategy was implemented with the release of the RHDV1 K5 strain of the rabbit calicivirus. It is important to note that RHDV1 K5 is not a new virus; it is a Korean variant of the existing (Czech) virus already widespread in Australia.

The virus was released by accredited personnel across 550 sites in Australia. Initial monitoring has suggested an average decline of 42% with anecdotal reports suggesting higher mortality in some areas.

A second coordinated release of RHDV1 K5 is planned in the southwest of Western Australia towards the end of 2017. Timing is critical with flies being a main vector for the spread of the virus. It is also helpful if green feed is depleted at the time of the release – under these conditions rabbits are more likely to take the oats or carrots that have been inoculated with the virus.

With this timeframe in mind, it is important that rabbit owners speak to their local vet to determine the best timing for vaccination, and what additional safeguards can be put in place. No precautions or interventions are required for native animals or livestock, and it poses no risk to human health.

A biocontrol option is not the silver bullet and follow-up is necessary to maintain the control results over a longer period of time. Follow-up actions include fumigation and/or destruction of warrens, and follow up baiting. Studies have shown that these techniques not only remove rabbits entirely from an area but can also avoid re-population for up to 5 years.

wild rabbit workshop image

 

  The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group is dedicated to educating landholders on the management of declared pests such as rabbits. The group will be hosting a rabbit control workshop on Thursday December 7th , 2017 .

The workshop will showcase on-ground control techniques. Landowners can talk to experience contractors on different services available. They will also have the opportunity to network with other landholders to foster a community wide approach to rabbit control.

To express your interest in becoming a release site for the rabbit calicivirus, or to register for the rabbit control workshop, please email comms.phbg@gmail.com   

 

Fox pelts, echidnas and photoboards delight showgoers at biosecurity stall.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) continued their annual traditional of hosting a stall at the 2017 Waroona Show.

Showcasing weed and pest management information, some fantastic props, registration forms for upcoming rabbit workshops, and photo boards the stall had a constant stream of visitors throughout the day.

By far the most popular activity at the stall was the WANTED Feral Animal photoboards. Kids just couldn’t go past the opportunity to pose as a wanted animal with character names such as Charlie ‘the chicken snatcher’ Canid and Ruby ‘the ankle twister’ Rabbit. Children, as well as some young at heart adults, posed with the photo boards whilst family members took pictures and were encouraged to share the pictures far and wide on social media.

 

Kids pose with feral animal photoboards

 

The photoboards while being fun are also informative and include information on the negative affects of the pests in the shape of ‘crimes’ and subsequent control options available to landowners.  They also help to share how community members can report sightings of pests using the MyPestGuide reporting system via an app or online form.

Another popular part of the stall was the stuffed native animals- Carnaby Black Cockatoo, Echidna and Quoll.  Many children had never seen these animals close up and were able to touch and feel the animals. There was also a fox pelt for people to touch and feel which generated a lot of interest. These resources were great conversation starters around what landowners had seen on their property or in local reserves.

 

Stuffed Echidna and Quoll with fox pelt at the PHBG Biosecurity stall.

 

The rabbit photoboard was one of the most popular for kids and rabbits were a hot topic from community members as well.  The stall was also an opportunity for landowners to sign up for the upcoming Rabbit Control Workshop . This workshop will coincide with the next release of the RHDV1 K5 or calicivirus.

PHBG officers are accredited to mix and disperse the virus and are seeking expressions of interest for landowners that would like to be involved in the November release. Signing up as a rabbit hotspot will involve monitoring before and after at the release site.

If you would like to register your interest email comms.phbg@gmail.com

Community members can also help by reporting rabbit, or other pests, via the MyPestGuide reporting system via an app or online form.

My Pest Guide logo

Free offer … traps to identify what insects lurk in your pantry

 

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are calling for citizen scientists to register for Western Australia’s second Pantry Blitz.

The Pantry Blitz is a biosecurity initiative designed to uncover what type of exotic pests might be hiding in people’s kitchens.

 

Tribolium castaneum

Tribolium castaneum collected in a grain storage lab

Volunteers who register their interest will be mailed free insect traps to place in their pantries. Once a week, between the 12 August and the 9 September, each participant will photograph any insects that appear in their traps and report findings using the MyPestGuide Reporter app. Entomologists at DPIRD will identify the insects from photographs and report back to volunteers about their findings.

Registrations for Pantry Blitz are currently open. Packages, containing traps and instructions, will be mailed to registered participants. People are encouraged to sign up online via the Pantry Blitz webpage.

Sitophilus-oryzae-adults.

adult Sitophilus oryzae

Pantry Blitz is a key activity of the department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project and is supported by National Science Week and Royalties for Regions.

Key URLS and resources:

  1. Pantry Blitz 2017 page – https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/biosecurity/pantry-blitz-2017
  1. Sign up to participate – https://confirmsubscription.com/h/j/6B163C3AB6347789
  1. Social media handles – Twitter: DAF_WA and Facebook: @DepartmentofAgricultureandFoodWA
  1. Social media hashtag: #PantryBlitz17

MyPestGuide Links

MyPestGuide website – https://mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au/

MyPestGuide Reporter – https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/apps/mypestguide-reporter

MyPestGuide family of apps – https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/biosecurity/mypestguide-suite

Mobile app centre – https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/appcentre

Boosting biosecurity defences project – https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/invasive-species/e-surveillance-pests-and-diseases-wa-grains-industry

MyPestGuide Reporter Download Links

Apple App Store –

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/mypestguide-reporter/id1032560930?mt=8

Android Google Play Store -https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.agric.mpg.reporter&hl=en

National Science Week – 12-20 August

NSW logos https://www.scienceweek.net.au/get-involved/graphics-logos/

NSW front page https://www.scienceweek.net.au

A picture of two hands holding some mulch

July edition of Backyard Buddies released

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development release a monthly guide to animal and plant pests, diseases and weeds. The July edition of Backyard Buddies focuses on preventing weeds by using mulch in your garden.

The header promting the Backyard Buddies Newsletter

Winter rains are building up moisture levels within the soil; aiding absorption of the nutrients and minerals needed to ensure a healthy plant. Weed seeds are also benefiting from this rain as it helps to provide the optimal conditions for weed germination.

The secret to successful and cost-effective weed control is to strike early, and nothing is earlier than prevention. So it’s important to implement weed management practices in your garden and understand the importance of using clean mulch from a reputable source.

Mulch is commonly used as a protective layer to maintain soil moisture by minimising evaporation. Mulch also prevents weeds by limiting the light required for weed establishment. However, contaminated mulch and the incorrect use of mulch can introduce new weeds into your garden or encourage existing weeds to germinate.

Ask questions of mulch suppliers or retailers to help avoid purchasing mulch contaminated with weed seeds.  Mulch that has not reached the optimal temperature required to kill most weed seeds, is not frequently turned or is left uncovered, poses a risk of weed contamination.

Composted mulch or mulch containing large quantities of plant debris and soil are not effective at weed suppression.  These act more like a soil they can compact and retain water; providing the perfect conditions for weeds to germinate and prosper.

If looking to suppress weeds, choose coarser mulch.  This is commonly made from chunks of wood or bark, and applied up to 4 inches deep.

A picture of two hands holding some mulch

You can also help protect your garden and our State by reporting suspicious or unusual weeds that pop up after fertilising or applying mulch to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional

Development (Previously the Department of Agriculture and Food WA) using our free mobile app MyWeedWatcher, or report via the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service by calling 1800 084 881 or email info@agric.wa.gov.au.

A picture of a hand holding a phone showing the MyWeedWatcher App

Pests and rides feature at Harvey Show

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group attended the 2017 Harvey Agricultural Show. Our enthusiastic committee members, made up of local property owners and representatives from the Shire of Murray and Harvey, tended the stall .

 

Three members of the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group at the 2017 Harvey Agricultural Show.

Members from the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (from left) Marion Lofthouse, Colleen Archibald and Tom Lerner attend the 2017 Harvey Agricultural Show.

 

Committee member Marion Lofthouse reported that the day was very successful with new cotton bush infestations reported, “we were able to hand out lots of bumper stickers to interested community members as well as hand out control notes on cotton bush and other weeds”. Marion was also surprised to discover that although many community members were aware of the group through the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group banners, strategically placed around the Peel-Harvey region, community members were still unaware of what cotton bush actually looked like. Marion says ” when they came to the stall to ask us what cotton bush actually looked like I could show them some cuttings and our potted samples to show them”.

 

Cotton bush

Narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA).

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group is looking forward to attending other community shows in 2017 and the events the group are attending can be found in the events section of our website. If you would like more information on the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group explore the website or visit the Facebook page.

Declared weed infestations can be reported by contacting your local biosecurity group or via the MyWeedWatcher App.

 

Robinia suckers popping up in a suburban lawn

Global invader controlled by kero concoction

Robinia pseudoacacia L. (black locust) is recognized as a global invader due to its ability to colonise areas quickly, produce lots of seeds, and produce suckers when disturbed. It’s ability to fix nitrogen in the soil allows Robinia to spread into low quality soils, once used to reclaim disturbed sites, the plant is now recognized as a weed on most continents. Many gardeners plant Robinia species because of their golden appearance and large colourful flowers, however these species are grafted onto black locust root stock which produce thorny suckers when the roots are disturbed. These suckers can even pop up into neighboring yards 15m away causing disputes, some of which has led to civil action.

A picture of a robinia tree with white flowers

 

Don Burke, of Burke’s Backyard, lists the global invader Robinia as one of the trees gardeners will regret they planted!

Control Options-

Robinia suckers can pop up vigorously after soil disturbance with sharp thorns that can make removal even harder.
The Ask Sabrina section of The Weekend West advised that a concoction of 200ml of blackberry and tree killer mixed with one teaspoon of kerosene painted on to the cut sucker immediately, is very effective. Hard-to-kill plants such as oleander and tree of heaven are also susceptible.

Website Herbiguide give this control advice “Cut down the tree and paint the stump with neat glyphosate to reduce regrowth and suckering. Spray regrowth and suckers when they are about 500 mm tall with glyphosate. It re grows vigorously from cut roots and stumps and these sprouts need to be removed continually to exhaust the root system. Access, Grazon and metsulfuron are worth a trial.”

The Meat and Livestock Association of Australia rates Robinia as moderately  palatable for goats in their handbook titled Weed control using goats- a guide to using goats for weed control in pastures. Giving a chemical free option for weed control.

Robinia suckers popping up in a suburban lawn

Heath Benefits?

According to some the black locust has some health benefits and parts of the tree can be used for different therapeutic uses. Infusions  can help burning in the stomach, and with fatigue and nervousness. The flowers can apparently help with wounds and burns- this could be helpful after attempting the removal of thorny suckers.

Reporting unfamiliar weeds

You can report biosecurity concerns or unfamiliar weeds using MyWeedWatcher or alternatively, contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881 or email info@agric.wa.gov.au.