Heads up from neighbour leads to cotton bush control.

All too often we hear the bad news about declared pests in our regions. Neighbouring properties, government land, and industry managed land gets the pointed finger, and for good reason.

Community pressure often leads to change.

However many people forget that a quick heads up and an offer of support can go a lot further.

In the Shire of Harvey, one neighbour approached another.

This neighbour had previously spent their own time and money trying to control a growing cotton bush infestation over the fence.

Cotton bush a weed that doesn’t respect property lines.

“It was very frustrating trying to control cotton bush that was re-infesting my property from an established problem over a fence. I was so relieved when my friendly heads up led to a massive effort by the new landowner to control and remove the cotton bush on his property,” the neighbour said.

The new landowner had unwittingly bought, along with his brand new patch of paradise, a long establish infestation of cotton bush.

The heads up was welcomed. The new landholder was unaware of the declared weed, cotton bush and its agricultural impacts, as well as the level of infestation on his own property.

“When I purchased my property I knew it had a cotton bush problem but I never really had any idea to how serious it was or could be,” said the landholder.

“Although I had the previous owner spray the cotton bush before purchasing, being late November the cotton bush had already seeded and though some were killed with the spraying, twice as much sprouted back up.

I received a call from the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) around this time after my cotton bush infestation had been reported to them. The call really helped with the understanding of what is expected from property owners and the resources available to remove cotton bush.

I received enormous amounts of encouragement and information from them, notably the list and phone numbers of local spraying contractors and cotton bush removalists who you can pay to physically remove the weed.”

With help from the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the new landowner set about creating a management plan that would see mature plants removed and emergent seedlings managed.

The new neighbour started by removing the mature cotton bush plants. Over 110 acres of matured plants were hand pulled and heaped together on central burn piles.

The cleared land was sprayed as new emergent seedlings popped up.

The new landowner has learnt a lot from the experience and has some timely advice as the cotton bush season draws closer.

The results from hand pulling was placed in a pile for burning in situ so as not to spread seeds.

“I know I will be pulling cotton bush for the next few years as it germinates, but it is far cheaper than spraying, and it really drives my passion to eradicate cottonbush from my farm” he said.

I feel a great sense of satisfaction to see how much work I have put in and the results are speaking for themselves.

If I were to hand on any advice that I have learned from my experience is to get onto it NOW. Cotton bush will get worse and require you to make more of an effort to remove if you leave it another weekend.

Talk to your neighbours, encourage them, help them get started, show them that it can be done because walking through a paddock pulling a few weeds can help you get to know them too.

Cotton bush is an unforgiving, plague-like weed that can easily defeat a person as fast as it spreads. Any  progress is progress and the best time to act is now because it’s only going to get worse if you leave it.”

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has control information for cotton bush on their website.

  • Mature plants with seed pods attached have the potential to spread seed and infest new areas when moved away from their original location and should be disposed of as close to the infestation as possible.
  • Larger infestations are best dealt with by a combination of spraying, slashing, burning and pasture management.
  • Burning heavy infestations of cotton bush is an effective, low cost option which damages seed on and near the soil surface. Make sure you check with your local fire and emergency coordinator or local government for burning advice and permits.
  • Slashing and burning must be followed up with herbicide treatment to control regrowth and seedlings.
  • Spraying with glyphosate mixed with metsulfuron-methyl is very effective in controlling larger cotton bush plants and is best applied by a high volume hand lead sprayer.
  • Plants should be sprayed until the leaves are wet, almost to the point that liquid is running off.
  • Herbicide control is best done when the plant is actively growing from September to May.

Cotton bush infestations can be reported by emailing or phoning the Pest and Diseases Information Service (PaDIS) or contacting the PHBG directly on comms.phbg@gmail.com

Cotton bush

Collaboration leads to increased control of declared weed in the Peel Harvey region

There is a lot of industry and government managed land in the Peel Harvey Region. It is really encouraging to see some taking steps towards controlling the weeds that occur on their land.

Three good needs stories were highlighted by the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development at the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group’s Annual General Meeting.

There is a lot of industry-owned land in the Peel-Harvey Region and some industry bodies are taking steps to control the weeds that occur on their land.

Three good news stories were highlighted at the 2017 PHBG general meeting by DPIRD.

Mature cotton bush plants can produce over 300 seeds per pod that are easily spread.

Alcoa

After the Waroona fire ALCOA had a massive cleanup job ahead. Even so DPIRD has reported that 100% of areas highlighted through consultation with the community, PHBG, and DPIRD were sprayed by the company voluntarily.

Watercorp

Through collaboration, Watercorp and DPIRD have worked together to develop a brand new process for identifying cotton bush infestations.

Using this new process highlighted areas have been actioned with follow up control planned throughout 2018.

Water Corporation and DPIRD continue to consult and work together on cotton bush control around their infrastructure.

Water Corporation South West Regional Manager, John Janssen, said the Region’s maintenance schedule targeted areas prone to invasive weeds.

“We take our responsibility as a landowner very seriously when it comes to controlling invasive weeds such as cotton bush.

“We collaboratively work together with all of our neighbours to ensure we get maximum results in weed control and prevent any weeds from spreading.”

Weed spraying equipment being used by WaterCorp to spray cotton bush problem areas highlighted using new process in partnership with DPIRD.

ARC Infrastructure

Formerly Brookfield Rail, ARC Infrastructure manages the rail reserves from the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale through the Murray and Waroona Shires, into Harvey.

Through consultation with the community, PHBG, and DPIRD, ARC Infrastructure have incorporated reported cotton bush problem areas into their spraying program.

 

Arc Infrastructure Officers assessing and spraying weeds along the rail corridor.

Vaughn Byrd Chairperson of the PHBG has seen the result of this spraying with patches of dead plants along the railway reserve. He views it as an initial step to controlling the outbreaks of these weeds.

“The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group values their relationship with the community, industry and local government. Being able to work together to highlight problem areas and focus efforts on them is invaluable,” He said.

“It really is amazing what can happen when everyone works together. We still have a long way to go but with these efforts continuing into the future land managers can start to move onto additional problem areas.”

Have you got a story about declared pests?

Contact the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and join the conversation, email comms.phbg@gmail.com

Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group Banner

 

dock moth

PaDIS sets PHBG straight on dock moth

Have you ever noticed a colourful clear winged moth hanging around your healthy dock plants?

No because you eradicated dock from your property because its an agricultural nuisance…

That’s great news, but if you have dock you may be seeing the introduced insect the dock moth (Chamaesphecia doryliformis), which is actually an introduced biological control for the weed dock.

During the 1980’s the dock moth was released onto 170,000 plants, spread across 150 sites in the South West of Western Australia.

The release was part of a national program run in partnership between the (then) Department of Agriculture Western Australia and the Meat Research Corporation.

This partnership led to the establishment of the dock moth across South Australia, New South Wales, and  Victoria, with follow on releases in Western Australia.

What is dock?

Broadleaf Dock weed

Broadleaf dock an invasive agricultural weed .    – Image via Victorian Resources Online

There are a few different types of dock with broadleaf dock, recognisable for its broad green leaves, flowering from September to January.

Each plant can produces up to 60,000 seeds which germinate in Autumn and Spring. The fruit can be spread via water and can stick to wool, fur and clothing, it is often also spread through contaminated hay and grain products.

Although established, the weed is sensitive to competition as seedlings. Control options can include cultivation for seedlings, broadleaf selective herbicides in grass based pastures, or blanket wiping with glyphosate in meadow pastures containing legumes.

Characteristics of the dock moth

Characteristics of the dock moth –

  • Wasp like in appearance with narrow clear wings and bright colours.
  • Females are 15mm long with distinctive black, white and orange bands, yellow legs with orange and black antennae.
  • Males are smaller at 12mm with yellow-brown bodies, yellow legs and dark antennae.
  • Males have a tuft of scales at the base of the abdomen that resembles a fan.
  • Larvae feed on the roots of the dock plants and can grow up to 25mm long.
  • Larvae are never seen above the ground, and have a shiny body and a brown head.
  • The dock moth has a life cycle of one year, with most of the time spent as larvae in the root of a dock plant.
  • The long life cycle of the dock moth means it spreads relatively slowly.
  • Docks were popular wild edibles during the Depression due to their tart, lemony flavour.

 

dock moth

 

 

A male dock moth note the fan shaped tuft of scales at the end of the abdomen

 

 

 

 

Dock moth larvae

 

 

A dock moth larvae, they are never seen above ground.

 

 

 

Images sourced via the dock moth information page on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) website.

Catch 22

It’s a catch 22 if you see this moth, it only thrive in areas with mature healthy dock plants.

When the moth becomes established the dock plants die off during late Spring and Summer. This is due to the moth larvae eating out the plants roots while it is dormant.

During the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) consultation events for the proposed Pest Rate landholders kept mentioning the nuisance weed dock.

Even though dock may be around the Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) haven’t received a report of a dock moth over the last 12 months.

So we want to know if you have.

 

If you see an insect, or plant, and your not sure of the identification you can report it using the MyPestGuide reporting tool. An Officer from PaDIS will get back to you in 48 hours  with identification, and if needed, control information.

Teele Hooper-Worrell from the PHBG says “I am now taking pictures of all the bugs I see! There are currently alerts out for the European wasp and the brown marmorated stink bug, so whenever I see an insect I don’t know, I send a report in. It’s true PaDIS get back to you in 48 hours as well”

 

The brown marmorated stink bug.

The brown marmorated stink bug.
Photo credit: Kristie Graham, USDA ARS, Bugwood.org (©2018 Kristie Graham, USDA ARS, Bugwood.org)

 

Want to see what people are reporting on? You can check out community reports on the MyPestGuide community website.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Pig trapping workshop

Have you seen signs of feral pigs on your property? Have you seen disturbance and thought it was pigs but weren’t sure? Do you want to learn the most effective trapping techniques for feral pigs? Then come along to the Pest Fest with two feral pig trapping workshop to choose from and many more activities on show.

A family of feral pigs

 

Feral pigs are a serious environmental and agricultural pest across Australia. They are found in all states and territories, particularly around wetlands and river systems.

They prey on native animals and plants, dig up large expanses of soil and vegetation in search of food and foul fresh water. Feral pigs will eat many things including small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, crayfish, eggs, earthworms and other invertebrates, and all parts of plants including the fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs and foliage.

Feral pigs can host animal diseases that can be transmitted to other species. In dirt on their feet and fur, they can also spread plant pathogens such as Phytophthora cinnamomi, which causes plant dieback. Feral pigs move around to new sites with food and water, and can breed rapidly to recover from control programs or droughts, and the impacts of feral pigs are intensified when their populations are large.

 

A feral pig walking through undergrowth

 

 

 

 

Attendees at the workshop will learn all aspects of pig trapping from experienced officers including:
-Practical knowledge of the effective and ethical management of feral pigs.
-Impact of pigs on the agriculture and natural environments.
-Learn how to trap,1080 baiting options,
-Recognise pig activity through scats and rutting.
-Impacts of pigs as vectors of disease and pathogens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop Details:

Times -12.00pm and 1.00pm 

Venue-Waroona Landcare Centre

Registrations essential, email comms.phbg@gmail.com

 

The MedFly

Fruit fly trap workshop

Join one of the Fruit Fly workshops at the September 10th Pest Fest and learn how to make Fruit Fly traps with household items.

Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) is a serious horticultural pest in Western Australia. It attacks a range of cultivated fruits and some fruiting vegetables. Medfly, as it is commonly known, has been recorded to infest more than 200 hosts worldwide. The first sign of damage is often larvae-infested or ‘stung’ fruit. Stinging is caused by the female laying eggs into unripened or ripe fruit.

The MedFly

Lure and kill devices work in a similar way to baits, exploiting the need for female Medflies to obtain dietary protein for egg production. Traps are hung on trees and the protein in the trap attracts male and female flies. Depending on the design, the flies drown or obtain a lethal dose of insecticide.

Some nurseries sell a lure and kill device which consists of a plastic container containing a liquid that is attractive to Medflies. The flies enter through small holes in the lid, and eventually drown in the liquid. Freshly-killed flies float on the surface.

You can also make your own traps out of empty soft drink or water bottles, or 2 litre milk or juice cartons. Remove the label first as it may deter flies or attract young children. Drill, punch or burn at least four holes on opposite sides of the bottle, near the ‘shoulders’. The size of the holes should be 6-8mm. The trap can be hung from its neck by wire or string to a branch. Fill one-third of the trap with your recipe.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, WA will run 3 Fruit Fly Trap workshops at the upcoming Pest Fest on September 10th

Attendees will be shown how to create a trap with recycled household plastic containers and teach recipes for the lure within.
Times are – 12:00, 12:30 and 1:00pm.
Start collecting your plastic containers to make your traps!

Pictures of fruit fly traps using recycled household plastic containers

 

 

People can bring:

· Milk bottles

· Drinks plastic bottles

· Water bottles (600ml, 1L or 2L)

· Peanut butter containers

· Coat hanger

· Honey bottles (large)

· Any container with a wide opening and yellow-orange lids.

· Yellow electrical tape

· Yellow contact sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Workshop Details:

Times- 12:00, 12:30 and 1:00pm.

Venue- Warmsley Pavilion, Waroona Show Grounds

Need more info?

Email comms.phbg@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cant make the event click here for some fruit fly lure recipes.