25 Jun 2020
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Ripersiella hibisci (Hemiptera: Rhizoecidae) for the EU . R. hibisci occurs in Japan, China and Taiwan and has spread to the USA : Florida, Hawaii and the territory of Puerto Rico.
R. hibisci is a polyphagous mealybug recorded feeding on roots of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants. Root damage reduces nutrient and water uptake, retards plant growth and may cause leaves to wilt or discolour, heavily infested plants can die. Literature most commonly refers to damage to greenhouse grown potted ornamentals such as Cuphea, Hibiscus, Pelargonium and Phoenix .
All life stages occur in the soil and host plants for planting with growing media provide a pathway for eggs, nymphs and adults. Multiple overlapping generations occur in greenhouses each year. R. hibisci is listed in Annex IIA of EU Regulation 2016/2031, appearing with the synonym Rhizoecus hibisci . All plants for planting from third countries are regulated. The import of soil or growing medium attached to plants for planting from third countries (other than Switzerland) is prohibited and therefore reduces the likelihood, but does not prevent entry of R. hibisci , as individuals may remain attached to the roots.
There have been interceptions of R. hibisci in the EU , usually on artificially dwarfed plants, i.e. bonsai/penjing. Findings in EU greenhouses have been eradicated. R. hibisci would be able to establish in the EU , greenhouse potted plant production would be most affected.
Phytosanitary measures are available to lower the likelihood of introduction. R. hibisci satisfies the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest. R. hibisci does not meet the criterion of occurring in the EU for it to be regarded as a potential Union regulated non‐quarantine pest.
For more information see the EFSA report.
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