The Pantry Blitz encouraged the community to take part in biosecurity surveillance

Livestream
Research

Time

Thursday 23 February
11:05am

Location

Auditorium

Speaker

Laura Fagan

Development Officer, Biosecurity and Regulation

Department of Agriculture and Food

Co-authors

Nicolas Garel

Anna Micha

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Rosalie McCauley

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Nadine Guthrie

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Rob Emery

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Catherine Webb

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Liz Edwards

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Andras Szito

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Darryl Hardie

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Nichole Hammond

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Rebecca O’Leary

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

David Cousins

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Alec McCarthy

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

Jeff Russell

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA)

This is an image of the MyPestGuide map showing the location of the Pantry Blitzers.
This is an image of the MyPestGuide map showing the location of the Pantry Blitzers

Abstract

Effective biosecurity surveillance increases the likelihood of early detection and effective eradication of unwanted exotic pests that have potential to harm Australian businesses and the wider economy. Recent national and state biosecurity strategies emphasise the importance of community participation in biosecurity surveillance but do not provide examples of how government can partner with community to collect biosecurity surveillance data. In 2016, the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) ran a Pantry Blitz with the aim of partnering with community to collect biosecurity surveillance data.

The project team successfully applied for a National Science Week grant of $15,000 that enabled the purchase of 3000 simple pest traps. Each trap contained a lure designed to attract the exotic grains pest, khapra beetle, which is a not present in WA. There was a three month long communications campaign to encourage everybody to take part in the Pantry Blitz. The campaign included written media communications, printed materials, social media messages, attendance at agricultural field days and shows, mail-outs and online information. All Pantry Blitz participants (the Pantry Blitzers) were asked to register for a free trap to place in their kitchen pantry or household cupboard for a one-month period and report trapped pests. The Pantry Blitzers used the free MyPestGuideTM Reporter app, developed by the department, to send in reports of any trapped insects and DAFWA’s subject matter experts identified the pests and sent a response back to each Pantry Blitzer. All submitted reports were published online on the MyPestGuide map and during the Pantry Blitz the project team sent the Pantry Blitzers regular weekly email updates on the progress of the Pantry Blitz to build team spirit.

The Pantry Blitz activity was considered a great success with 1877 participants registering for a free trap and the department receiving 2252 biosecurity surveillance reports. Media analysis showed that Pantry Blitz communications reached over 250,000 people and the Pantry Blitz communications campaign won the WA Rural Media Best Campaign award for 2016. The department will use these submitted pest reports to formally support Western Australia’s area freedom for khapra beetle and help ensure ongoing access to international markets. The Pantry Blitz helped 1877 community members and their families to understand that they can play an important role as a pest reporter and help protect Western Australian businesses and the economy from harmful exotic pests.

 

Co-authors Anna Micha, Rosalie McCauley, Nadine Guthrie, Rob Emery, Catherine Webb, Liz Edwards, Andras Szito, Darryl Hardie, Nichole Hammond, Rebecca O’Leary, David Cousins, Alec McCarthy, Jeff Russell

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