Sign-up now as a citizen scientist to support biosecurity

Sign-up now as a citizen scientist to support biosecurity

The WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (Agriculture and Food) is encouraging participation in National Science Week, hosting the second annual Pantry Blitz.

The Citizen Science activity will kick off on 12 August 2017 to correspond with the start of Science Week.

Agriculture and food project manager Rosalie McCauley said the Statewide biosecurity initiative was designed to uncover exotic pests, which could become agricultural pests, hiding in kitchen cupboards.

“We are calling on residents in the metropolitan area and in the regions to get involved to boost our biosecurity efforts and sign-up to place a free sticky trap in their food pantry,” Dr McCauley said.

“Good biosecurity is vital to protect all of our agricultural industries from harmful pests, weeds and diseases. Pantry Blitz provides support specifically for our valuable grains industry.”

Everyone who registers for Pantry Blitz will receive a free trap for their kitchen pantry or household cupboard for a one-month period.

Participants are asked to photograph any insects that are trapped and send them to the department each week, for the four weeks, using the MyPestGuide Reporter app.

Agriculture and Food entomologists will identify insects from the photographs and report back.

Dr McCauley said the inaugural Pantry Blitz was a great success, with 1877 people taking part and sending 2252 surveillance reports.

“The level of participation in 2016 shows how easy it is for people to take up the biosecurity challenge and support both science and agriculture, regardless of age or location,” she said.

“This campaign focuses the community’s attention on the importance of pest reporting using the MyPestGuide Reporter app while promoting a shared responsibility for our biosecurity.”

National Science Week is one of Australia’s biggest community activities, with 1.3 million people participating in 1800 events and activities across the country. Pantry Blitz is one of 39 projects to share in $500 000 worth of National Science Week grants.

Sign-up online or search for ‘Pantry Blitz 2017’ on the DPIRD website.

Pantry Blitz is part of the department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project supported by Royalties for Regions.

Source: WA DPRID

Image: People who register to participate in the Pantry Blitz 2017 will receive a free insect trap to place in their pantry or cupboard for a one-month period to report trapped pests to the department, weekly. Image provided by the WA DPRID