Health for humans, animals & plants

12 May: Plant Health Day

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Global trade and climate change are increasing the risks of introducing plant pests and diseases. We help to prevent their spread with monitoring programmes and controls.

12 May is International Plant Health Day. Healthy plants are a prerequisite for a stable ecosystem, the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable forestry and agriculture. However, global trade and climate change are increasing the risks of the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases. International plant health standards, effective monitoring and controls are therefore the basis for sustainable plant protection and plant health.

With our monitoring programmes and controls, we help to prevent the introduction and spread of dangerous quarantine pests. These are insects, mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and invasive plants that do not yet occur or are not yet widespread in the EU. In order to keep these dangerous pests of plants out of the EU, they must be identified accurately and quickly by specialised reference laboratories to prevent their introduction. We are one of the five European reference laboratories, the one for insects and mites, together with our French partner agency ANSES.

One example of such a quarantine pest is the Japanese beetle. Pretty to look at, but voracious. And it is not picky: it feeds on over 300 different plant species (ornamental and fruit trees, agricultural crops, meadows), with the adult beetles favouring leaves, flowers and fruit and their larvae the roots on meadows and lawns. As the name suggests, the Japanese beetle originally comes from Japan. In 2014, however, it first appeared in the EU in northern Italy - probably as a blind aeroplane passenger. Since then, it has continued to spread in Italy and has advanced as far as Switzerland and southern Germany. The Japanese beetle has not yet appeared in Austria.

Our pest database provides detailed information on the Japanese beetle and a large number of other pests.

The Plant Health Warning Service provides early information on the occurrence of plant pests and diseases in fruit, vine, field, vegetable and ornamental plant cultivation. Tips on preventing and controlling pests are available online and by newsletter.

You can find information on quarantine pests on the website of the Official Plant Protection Service.

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