Ethyl formate is being explored as an alternative to methyl bromide for controlling and eradicating khapra beetle at the Australian border.

The first stage of the project, where a laboratory based Khapra beetle colony is being established in India for ethyl formate testing, is complete.

The project, a collaboration between the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Murdoch University, will evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of ethyl formate as a potential treatment for Khapra beetle in plant products and sea containers, as well as emergency responses.

According to DAFF, Australia uses methyl bromide to control pests at the border and while the pesticide works well, it harms the ozone layer and can’t be used on organic products.

“Other treatments have drawbacks like cost and availability. Ethyl formate is being tested as an alternative as it’s easy to use, fast, safer and doesn’t damage products,” DAFF said.