Invertebrate pest management options

​To ensure Australia’s biosecurity is protected, all consignments of fresh cut flowers and foliage must be endorsed by the national plant protection organisation (NPPO) of the exporting country as being free of live quarantine pests.

Australia accepts several methods for the offshore management of live invertebrate pests of quarantine concern:

NPPO-approved systems approach for the import of cut flowers to Australia

The use of an NPPO-approved systems approach offers an alternative to treatments such as methyl bromide fumigation. A systems approach is a series of integrated pest management measures applied at different points in the supply chain.

The NPPO of the exporting country must approve and certify the systems approach. Each consignment prepared for export under a systems approach must be inspected by the NPPO of the exporting country to verify that no quarantine pests are present.

The NPPO must sample and inspect consignments for live quarantine pests and ensure that it meets Australia’s import conditions. Consignments meeting the requirements of the NPPO approved systems approach must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with the following additional declaration:

“This consignment was produced and prepared for export by [insert name of approved growers and/or packing houses] under an NPPO approved systems approach and was inspected and found free from live quarantine pests.”

If live quarantine pests are detected, a phytosanitary certificate should not be issued.

Diagram of an example systems approach

This diagram is an example of how a systems approach could be used to produce pest free cut flowers and foliage for export to Australia.  Not all steps may be required, but where a step is critical to managing a quarantine pest to achieve Australia’s import requirements, the NPPO must confirm that these critical controls have been applied.

Image showing the steps in a systems approach to manage plant pests

Measures that can be used as part of a systems approach

Under a systems approach various measures might be put in place at both production and post-harvest stages.


  • Site management
  • Sanitation and hygiene
  • Pest free production sites
  • Production inputs
  • Pest free propagation material
  • Clean growing media
  • Pest monitoring e.g. visual examination and trapping
  • Pest control
    • Pesticides e.g. chemical and organic (oils, soaps, plant extracts)
    • Physical e.g. enclosed production systems such as glasshouses and screen houses
    • Cultural e.g. field hygiene and sanitation, planting densities
    • Mechanical e.g. use of sticky traps
    • Biological e.g. release of predators to suppress pest populations.


  • Sorting and grading
  • Post-harvest treatments e.g. chemical, physical, controlled atmosphere
  • Hygiene and sanitation of packing facilities
  • Temperature control during the packing process
  • Packing in pest proof containers to prevent re-infestation
  • Inspection to verify freedom form live quarantine pests.

Pre-shipment methyl bromide fumigation

Consignments fumigated in accordance with the department’s requirements must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate AND attached with the relevant fumigation certificate. For further details see the relevant conditions for your product as outlined in BICON.

If methyl bromide is banned in the country of export, a systems approach or alternative treatments should be used to manage pests on flowers or foliage intended for Australia.

NPPO-approved alternative pre-shipment treatments

Australia will accept any treatments approved by the NPPO of the exporting country that are applied to kill pests on cut flowers for export to Australia. The department does not need to approve the treatment prior to its use unless the NPPO wishes to apply alternative treatments designed only to achieve pest sterility e.g. irradiation.

The NPPO of the exporting country must:

  • approve and certify the treatment on a phytosanitary certificate
  • inspect each treated consignment to verify freedom of live quarantine pests.

Possible alternative treatments

Various countries are undertaking research on development of alternative treatments to methyl bromide to treat cut flowers. One example is low temperature phosphine fumigation. The following papers outline some of the research into the effects of phosphine on insect pests and flower quality:

​​Other conditions

Read about the other conditions that must be satisfied to import fresh cut flowers and foliage into Australia.