Here are eight reasons why the very small Khapra Beetle is a very big deal:
1. The Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma Granarium) is one of the world’s most serious pests of stored grain products. It measures 1.5-3.5mm long and 1.1-2mm wide and are small, oval-shaped and densely hairy, reddish-brown beetles.
2. It is regarded as one of the most resilient pests of its kind and is able to survive inactively for long periods of time within stored food, packaging and transport facilities.
3. It is a regulated quarantine pest in many countries and until now has been absent from Australia.
4. The global spread of Khapra Beetle is increasing and it is being detected on a wide range of plant products and as a hitchhiker pest on containers, from places where khapra is not known to occur.
5. Khapra Beetle is a significant threat to Australian plant industries, including the grain export industry and it is particularly effective in hot and dry conditions, like those in the Australian grain belt. Following recent rain, Australia is forecast to have one of the largest grain harvests in many years.
6. Khapra Beetle destroys grain quality making it unfit for human or animal consumption. Stored products also become contaminated with beetles, cast skins and hairs from larvae, which can be a human health risk.
7. If Khapra Beetle enters Australia it would have significant economic consequences.
8. An outbreak could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years through revenue losses arising from reduction in production and exports.