Magnifiers for mobile phone cameras bring pests into view
Since many of the pests that can invade crops are tiny, it’s often not possible to identify them with the naked eye. Inspectors who check fruit and vegetables at state borders have found a fast and simple solution – they add a magnifying lens to their mobile phones and take a picture.
Recently, Tasmanian Biosecurity Officer Harri Osborne noticed some spots on raspberries when he was inspecting fruit coming into the state. By simply attaching a clip-on magnifying lens to his mobile phone, Harri was able to snap a couple of images that made identifying the pest a breeze.
As you can see the results were spectacular. The detailed images allowed experts in the lab to see that the growths were Hemiptera (bug) eggs, but not from a serious biosecurity threat such as brown marmorated stink bug.
Of course, it’s not only border inspectors who can get impressive close-up images. If you want to do some investigation of your own about the pests you find on plants in your garden magnifying lenses are available quite cheaply online and from camera shops.
A 5 or 10 times macro lens is perfect for taking a close look at a pest. It’s best to find one that comes with a light as well, to help when taking pictures in the shade.
If you do find something unusual, or you’re not sure what it is you’ve found, the best thing to do is contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. An officer in your state will then tell you where to send the images for identification.