The federal Agriculture Department wants local government’s help to eradicate khapra beetles detected in white goods and highchairs imported into Australia last year.
The highly invasive beetles target stored grains and dried foods and are regarded as the world’s second most damaging insect pest.
Last August, khapra beetles were detected in the packaging of a refrigerator sold at a Canberra store.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) traced the fridge to a consignment imported in a single shipping container from Thailand. The other 75 fridges were distributed across NSW and the ACT.
The beetles were also detected in a container consignment of 320 highchairs imported from Italy in October and distributed nationally to 57 retail stores and two distribution centres.
Should it to became established here, the khapra beetle could cost Australian agriculture and industry up to $15 billion over 20 years.
Following emergency containment and control measures for the fridges and highchairs, DAWE is overseeing follow-up trappings, inspections and surveillance at facilities and sites where infested packaging may have been received.
The traps are non-toxic and have been approved for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
They will be inspected regularly by biosecurity officers, and council staff at the selected sites should not handle or tamper with the traps as this may reduce their effectiveness.
Sites where the beetles are detected may require fumigation treatment by state/territory biosecurity officers.
This DAWE webpage has more information on the khapra beetle detections.