Opening of the EURL for Insects and Mites website

For decades, invasions of alien species into a new territory have invariably altered the balance of natural ecosystems and have had serious repercussions on areas of economic and social importance. National Plant Health Services first goal is to prevent the introduction and spread on the EU territory of potential harmful species, putting in place official measures immediately after the discovery of the pest within their borders. Therefore, being able to rely on the competences of Laboratories well trained for a prompt identification, is of paramount importance.

On 1st of August 2019, the European Reference Laboratory for Insects and Mites (EURL for Insects and Mites) officially opens its doors and starts its activities. Designated under the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/530 of 27 March 2019, the EURL is composed by two partners: the Entomology and Invasive Plants Unit of ANSES Plant Health Laboratory (Montpellier, France) and the Department for Molecular Diagnostics of Plant Diseases of the AGES (Vienna, Austria). This consortium has been defined in such a way as to unite the broad knowledge of ANSES in the morphological identification of plant pests together with the diagnostic expertise of AGES in the molecular field.

The main objective of the EURL-Insects and Mites is to coordinate the network of EU National Reference Laboratories (EU NRLs) to ensure accurate identification of regulated or invasive insect and mite species. In this frame, the work programme will include a number of activities and services aimed to the EU  NRLs, i.e.:

► Provision of guidance on methods of laboratory analysis, including validated reference methods;
► Provision of reference materials;
► Organisation of annual proficiency tests;
► Organisation of annual training sessions and workshops;
► Sharing of information and news, recent publications and forthcoming events;
► Provision of confirmatory identification of specimens.

All this in order to improve the quality of the diagnosis and harmonise the diagnostic procedures at European level.

A questionnaire will soon be presented to all EU NRLs in order to collect information on their expertise, facilities and available staff and their expectations for future EURL activities, such as their technical and scientific support needs. The EURL requests the kind cooperation of all EU NRLs to provide this important information.

The EURL for Insects and Mites is pleased to welcome you, wishing the full cooperation of all EU NRLs in building a network at European level, able to meet the challenges that the diagnostics in the field of entomology will present in the years to come.