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Russian Wheat Aphid
Photo: MA Nash

Should a new plant pest enter Australia, one of the first steps in either an eradication or a management program is the identification of control methods for that pest.

In many instances, control might be best achieved using chemicals. However, even chemicals used to eradicate or control exotic plant pests (EPPs) must be registered or be under permit for use through the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA). That means emergency or minor-use permits are often required to ensure that chemicals are availablein the first stages of an incursion response.

Criteria for selecting chemicals during a response to a particular EPP include:

  • chemicals that are used to control the pest overseas, or have been shown to be highly effective at controlling the pest in the scientific literature;
  • chemicals that are registered in Australia; and
  • chemicals registered in Australia for use in a similar way and at a similar rate on host crops.

Chemicals already registered in Australia on the host crop are likely to be readily available, acceptable to overseas markets and also meet APVMA requirements relating to human and environmental health.

Recent exotic pest incursions, most notably the presence of Russian wheat aphid and fall armyworm, highlight the need for development of pre-emptive control measures and the appropriate implementation of management plans when incursions do occur.

More information: Gordon Cummings,

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