Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium)
Exotic to Australia
The tiny adult Khapra beetle (top) and juvenile larvae (bottom)
pictured on grains of rice.
Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Features: A tiny beetle pest that infests stored produce such as
grain shipments or silos, eating the produce and making it inedible
Where it's from: India, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.
How it spreads: In infested shipments of imported grain and
other foodstuffs, personal effects, machinery, straw
At risk: Dried plant or animal products, grains, rice, oilseeds,
Keep it out
Overseas, khapra beetle(Trogoderma granarium) is a serious pest of stored grains, rice, oilseeds and dried foodstuffs. In hot conditions, populations build up swiftly, causing significant losses to produce held in stores such as grain in silos. Infested stores also become contaminated with beetles and cast skins and hairs from larvae which can be a health risk.
If the beetle was to establish here, many of our trading partners would reject stored produce from Australia. Given that Australia exports much of the grain we grow, the beetle could cause huge losses, affecting Australia’s economy.
Treatments for the pest are available but they are not particularly effective against khapra beetle larvae. Larvae can survive without food for over 12 months, so they can hide away for some time.
To keep khapra beetle out of Australia, never ignore Australia’s strict biosecurity rules.
Import shipments may need to be treated and certified, so before you import, check our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).
Urgent actions have been implemented to further strengthen our management of khapra beetle on high-risk plant products that are hosts of this pest. These urgent actions impact travellers, online shoppers and stakeholders in the import and shipping industries.
What to look for
Adult beetles are:
- oval shaped
- tiny, just 1.6 to 3 millimetres long.
- appear very hairy, forming distinctive tufts over the body and giving the appearance of a short tail
- range in size from 1.6 to 4.5 millimetres long
- are initially pale yellow and become golden-brown when they grow.
Where to look
The most likely way that khapra beetle could make it to Australia is with:
- stored produce including grain, rice, cotton seed, powdered milk and nuts
- containers used for storing or moving produce, including in cracks and wall linings of storage containers.
Growers and handlers
- Check stored grain and storage facilities regularly for new pests and unusual damage symptoms.
- Look for cast-off skins.
- It will not be in crops in the field.
- Make sure you are familiar with common storage pests so you can tell if you see something different. The booklet Monitoring stored grain on farm can help with identifying any insects you find.
What to do
If you think you have found khapra beetle:
- do not disturb the insects (this may be as simple as closing the doors on a shipping container or sealing a silo)
- take a photo
- collect a sample, if possible to do so without disturbing the insects.