Foreign invaders

Intensified international trade of the past decades has brought many alien plant feeding species unintentionally to my garden, to your field, to our forest. Many of them are invaders with high reproductive potential, not having natural enemies and soon after arrival causing emerging food and plant safety risks, which are more and more difficult to mitigate. They may spread so quickly, that no phytosanitary service can do any measures against them. So, they become my problem, your problem, our problem of plant health.

The pathway can be imported plants for planting, but many new harmful organisms come also with consignments of wood, wooden pallets, boxes, etc., vegetables, herbs and fruits. Here are some examples, found in my neighbourhood:

With regard to the official report of plant health controls at import into EU, more problems can be expected:

  • False Codling Moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae); 150 interceptions at import in the EU in 2015: it is a significant pest of fruit trees (citrus, peach) and field crops (cotton, maize, beans and peppers).
  • fruit flies belonging to the genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera, Dacus, Ceratitis, Euphranta, Rhagoletis, Pardalaspis and Trirhithromya or reported as Tephritidae; 482 interceptions of fruit flies in the EU in 2015 (234 on mango fruits!)
  • white flies belonging to the genera Aleurocanthus, Bemisia and Dialeurodes or reported as Aleyrodidae (290 interceptions of white flies in the EU in 2015).
  • leaf miners (belonging to the genera Agromyza and Liriomyza or reported as Agromyzidae) imported by cut flowers and herbaceous plants (also Apium, Artemisia, Solidago, Eryngium, Ocimum) 105 interceptions in the EU in 2015.
  • thrips belonging to the genera Frankliniella, Thrips and Scirtothrips or reported as Thripidae, Thysanoptera (350 interceptions in the EU in 2015).
  • longhorn beetles (Anoplophora), bark beetles (Monochamus) and others on wood packing material and on other wood and bark products (together 248 interceptions in the EU in 2015)
Interceptions of plant pests at import of goods to the EU

Healthy Plants as a Criterion for Entering Foreign Markets; Cropsustain Conference, Ljubljana (Knapic et al., 2015)


(1) Anon. 2014. Non-EU trade alert list (1 Jan 2014 - 31 Dec 2014). - Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, Unit E2, European Commission, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
(2) Anon. 2015. TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Regulation: an overview. - The European Commission, 10 Feb 2015
(3) Anon. 2012. New EU plant health rules, Last access 10 May 2015
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