The Sentinel Silo Surveillance program in Victoria has been operating for two years to monitor for the exotic Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium), which is a serious pest of stored grain.
The program involves 40 specialised pheromone traps set up next to grain storage silos across 12 sites.
While no Khapra beetles have been found to date, an enormous number of other species have been caught.
Expected grain storage pests that have been trapped include:
- Rice weevil
- Lesser grain borer
- Saw-toothed grain beetle.
Other species that were detected include adult and larval warehouse beetle, also a Trogoderma species, which were sent to AgriBio to be ruled out as Khapra beetles.
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Some species trapped at the grain silos play important roles in ecological processes. For example, the skin beetle (Dermestidae), is an important decomposer. The long-haired larvae of this species feed on a wide range of dead animal and plant matter.
Other species that have been trapped, such as museum beetles (Anthrenus museorum), are also known to be pests of commodities in storage. These infest stored goods, most notoriously biological specimens in museum collections.
The traps are checked every eight weeks when the pheromone lure is replaced, providing a high level of vigilance and strengthening observations by advisers, researchers, agronomists and staff at grain receival sites.
The program is an important component of Victoria's grains biosecurity system.
It gives the grains industry the best chance of eradicating any incursions by providing early detection.
More information: Jim Moran, (03) 5430 4479
Jim Moran is the Victorian biosecurity officer of the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program, which is an initiative of Plant Health Australia and Grain Producers Australia.