Pest Risk Analysis for Anthonomus eugenii
The present Pest Risk Analysis was conducted after the finding of an outbreak of Anthonomus eugenii (pepper weevil) in a sweet pepper crop in the Netherlands in 2012. Official measures were taken to eradicate the pest. A. eugenii is present in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, USA and French Polynesia. Imports of fresh Capsicum and Solanum fruit from these regions and countries were identified as the most important pathways for introduction with Capsicum fruit being the most important one. Capsicum fruit has been imported since at least 1988 from countries where the pest is present. The import volume has not increased significantly since about 2000 and the probability of introduction has been assessed as “low” with a high uncertainty. Changes in handling of imported fruit, for example placing it in closer proximity to production facilities may significantly increase the probability of introduction. The pest can likely establish in greenhouses growing Capsicum fruit with short intercrop periods. Establishment in greenhouses growing Solanum melongena (egg plant) or Solanaceae pot plants is uncertain. A. eugenii may be able to establish outdoors in areas of southern Europe with mild winters which allow the presence of green host plants throughout the year. Transient populations may occur in Capsicum crops in areas where the pest cannot persist throughout the year. The impact in Capsicum fruit crops in protected cultivations has been assessed “major” with a medium uncertainty. In field-grown crops, the potential impact will depend on the chance that the pest can persist in the vicinity of the field in absence of the crop or the probability that the field becomes re-infested by human-assisted pathways. Once present in a greenhouse or field, the pest is difficult to control because of the hidden life stages, eggs, larvae, pupae and young adults are within the fruits. Application of insecticides to control the mature adults outside the fruits will disrupt existing integrated control systems. The impact for crops other than Capsicum fruit has been assessed to be minor with a medium uncertainty. Three options have been identified and evaluated to reduce the risk of introduction: import of Capsicum fruits only allowed (I) from Pest Free Areas or (II) Pest Free Production Places or sites or (III) after irradiation. Option III is currently not realistic because irradiated fresh fruit is prohibited in the EU. Less strict measures may be considered for fruits of Solanum because the probability of association of A. eugenii with fruits of Solanum is assessed to be much lower than with fruits of Capsicum.
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