Approved treatments for timber and wooden related products

Treatment options, dosage rates, temperatures and durations can be found in the department's Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). To establish which BICON case is relevant to your product you can refer to the types of timber and wood related products page.

Treatment providers

Some treatments (including methyl bromide or ethylene oxide fumigations, heat treatment, irradiation and cold storage) can only be carried out by offshore approved treatment providers or endorsed on an official government phytosanitary certificate. Other treatments (such as sulphuryl fluoride fumigation, kiln drying, immersion in boiling water and preservative treatments) may be performed by any commercial providers* who comply with the treatment and documentation requirements set out in BICON.

Post-entry biosecurity treatments must be performed at an Approved Arrangement site. Approved Arrangements are categorised according to the type of commercial operations being undertake​n and the various biosecurity activities or treatments that are authorised to take place at these facilities.

The department maintains a list of sites that have an arrangement with the department.

*For timber goods treated with sulphuryl fluoride in Italy, the department will only accept evidence of treatment on treatment certificates issued by providers on the offshore Brown marmorated Stink bug (BMSB) Treatment Providers Scheme or on a Phytosanitary Certificate.

Timber treatment options

Depending on the product and treatment options set out in BICON, some or all of the following treatment options may apply.

Type of TreatmentTreatment Description
Methyl bromide fumigation

Fumigants are pesticides in a gaseous state. The gas is exerted within the container in which the goods are being shipped (which must be fully sealed) or under an acceptable fumigation sheet.

Dosages (treatment x time) are based on the anticipated minimum ambient temperature that the commodities inside the fumigation enclosure will experience during the fumigation period.

These fumigants cannot be used on painted, varnished or glazed timber products as the finishes inhibit the penetration of the fumigant. For further details see the Biosecurity Methyl Bromide Fumigation Methodology and Guide.

Sulphuryl fluoride fumigation

Ethylene oxide fumigation

The product is placed in a chamber under vacuum (all air removed) and gas is exerted in controlled amounts.

Heat treatment

Dry or moist heat is applied to a product in a temperature controlled chamber or oven.

For biosecurity purposes timber and wooden related products must achieve a minimum core temperature in order to address biosecurity pest and pathogen concerns. For more information, see the department’s heat treatment standard.

Kiln drying

Timber is placed in a chamber where the temperature and humidity is controlled to reduce the moisture content of the timber, making it more durable.

Kiln drying is also known to be an effective treatment for insect, fungal and nematode timber pests.

For biosecurity purposes an approved temperature must reach the core of the timber and the duration of the treatment is proportional to the thickness of the timber.

Immerse in boiling waterThis treatment is only applicable to bamboo products. Raw material is immersed boiling water for an approved minimum duration.
Cold storage

Wooden articles are stored at an approved negative temperature for a number of consecutive days.

Cold storage cannot be used on consignments exported from cold environments. It is only an effective treatment for consignments exported out of countries with warm climates (tropical zones).

Ionising radiation (irradiation)

Certain rays (eg. gamma, x-ray) generate electromagnetic radiation that destroys living cells found in bacteria and pests.

This treatment does not require the use of chemicals or pressure. It does not change the temperature of the product and can be applied to goods that are packaged.

Permanent timber preservative

Permanent timber preservatives are applied to sawn, round or veneered timber through pressure impregnation or glueline treatments.

The department has strict requirements for permanent timber preservative treatments which specify acceptable application methods, chemical formulations, preservative penetration depths and preservative retention measurements to ensure that preservative treatments are capable of sufficiently addressing biosecurity concerns.

Documentary evidence of treatment

Check BICON for the specific documentary requirements for the chosen treatment. Documentation that you will need depends on the treatment, but can include:



Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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