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Khapra beetle, Trogoderma granarium interceptions and eradications in Australia and around the world

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The number of recorded intercepts and eradications of khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) have increased in Australia and the United States in recent years. Khapra beetle is one of the most destructive stored grain pests, and infestations can destroy the quality of grain and other commodities rendering the product unfit for human consumption.

In this paper, past khapra beetle incursions, intercepts and eradications in Australia and other countries have been reviewed. In 2007, a post-border detection in Western Australia was eradicated. Factors contributing to the successful response strategy included the small scale infestation, limited distribution and technical feasibility of the fumigation. Prior preparedness and agreement and cooperation across government, industry and community also led to the rapid response to the incursion. The eradication programs described in this paper were found to be economically justified, although actual losses from pest damage were not that significant. For any exporting country where khapra beetle is endemic costly phytosanitary measures and trade implications come into effect. Therefore, eradication programs are worthwhile and likely to be the optimal response when costs are compared with expected damages avoided. In identifying the optimal response program an understanding of pest biology and behaviour is critical. In this paper we also compare response strategies to khapra beetle infestations with the Australian outbreak of the warehouse beetle (Trogoderma variabile) in 1977 – 1993. We explore the differences in pest characteristics that led to the successful eradication of one and not the other. Finally we consider the problems that are currently of most concern, which are the ability to eradicate khapra beetle in the absence of methyl bromide and the development of resistance to phosphine. Given the inevitability of future khapra beetle incursions, resolving these issues will be essential to maintaining global market access for grain exporting countries such as Australia, the United States and Canada.

Author(s):Cheryl Day and Ben White (University of Western Australia and Plant Biosecurity CRC)

Published:October 11, 2016

Date added:March 12, 2019