Pests and diseases

Plants form the basis of our food chain, for without the cultivation of crops there would be neither food for humans nor feed for animals. Plants are also a key element of the environment in which we live and lead our everyday lives. For this reason, outbreaks of plant diseases and pests can have devastating effects on the quality of our lives and on the economy. Particularly dangerous harmful organisms can threaten the livelihoods of agricultural and horticultural producers and adversely affect the quality and prices of our food and the condition and functions of our forests and parks.

Destructive plant pests and diseases can take a wide variety of forms, such as insects or bacteria, fungi or viruses. For example, the bacterial disease fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) has caused severe damage to fruit production in Switzerland over the past 30 years. In recent years, outbreaks of the Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), in particular, have posed a major threat to forests. In the coming years, the introduction and spread of new, particularly dangerous harmful organisms – e.g. the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) or the pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) – could have serious economic, social and environmental impacts. It is therefore essential to take effective measures as rapidly as possible to prevent harmful organisms from entering Switzerland, or to eradicate them as soon as they are detected in this country.

Certain harmful organisms which are not yet present in Switzerland or only occur locally are subject to a general notification obligation.

Quarantine pests

Quarantine pests are plant diseases or pests of potential economic significance which are not present or only occur locally in Switzerland. They are subject to a general notification and control obligation. Quarantine pests include, for example, the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa and the Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis).

Regulated non-quarantine pests

Regulated non-quarantine pests (RNQPs) are pathogens or pests which are widely distributed in Switzerland and are transmitted mainly through specific host plants intended for planting. Owing to their distribution, they do not (or no longer) meet the criteria for a quarantine pest. However, as their presence on or in plants would have an unacceptable economic impact, phytosanitary measures must be adopted with regard to the propagating material. RNQPs cause diseases such as fireblight in pomaceous fruit, plum pox (Sharka) in stone fruit, red band needle blight in pine, or apple proliferation.

Last modification 19.09.2023

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Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG Swiss Federal Plant Protection Service SPPS
Schwarzenburgstrasse 165
3003 Bern
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