The destructive citrus gal wasp has been detected in regional WA with experts warning home gardeners within the Wyndham-East Kimberley and Derby-West Kimberley local government areas to be on the lookout for the invasive pest. The gall wasp damages citrus trees by producing galls which weaken the branches of the tree, reducing its output. Galls are distinctive wooden bulges on branches which form around wasp larvae as they burrow into the tree and can measure up 250mm long and 25mm thick. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development research scientist Rachelle Johnstone said the pest was established in the Perth metropolitan area and had been found in some regional areas. “Management of this pest is vital, not only to protect trees in our own gardens but to reduce the risk of spread into our commercial citrus orchards which supply fresh, local fruit for us to eat,” she said. WA Citrus biosecurity representative Helen Newman said information pamphlets had been sent to residents and businesses in areas close to citrus orchards, including Wyndham-East Kimberley and Derby-West Kimberley. “We are asking people in these areas to check their trees, remove and report any gall wasp found,” he said. “This is an opportunity to keep regional gardens free of this pest. Once established, this pest is very difficult to control.” The gall wasp lays eggs from September to December with galls become visible from February. Galls removed from July onwards need to be placed in a well-sealed plastic bag and left in the sun so larvae don’t survive before disposal, according to DPIRD. To report the presence of citrus gall wasp in a regional area email firstname.lastname@example.org.