Back in February 2017 we brought you an e-news story about Australia’s Number 2 exotic and unwanted plant pest and global threat, Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium). This highly invasive pest poses a major threat to Australia’s billion-dollar grains industry.

In the article we reported that PIRSA had enacted a successful fumigation and surveillance trapping program in response to Khapra beetles and larvae found in imported food grade containers in Adelaide and Kangaroo Island.

According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in 2020, Australia saw a marked increase in Khapra beetle interceptions. These tiny but hardy insects – or their remains – were found in goods they had previously not been found with, and in shipments from countries not known to have Khapra beetle.

At least 67% of the interceptions in 2020 were suspected to have been caused by contaminated sea containers, in which the pest can harbour as a hitchhiker for up to 6 years without food.

Managing biosecurity of these more than three million sea containers received in Australia per year is a key focus of the federal government at present. For further information, read more here.

A reminder to all growers, wineries and suppliers: if you see anything unusual in your purchased goods, report it immediately to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.