Fresh outbreak of phosphine resistant insects in WA

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 16 Jun 2014

Image of grain storage silos

Western Australian growers storing grain for seed or sale are encouraged to attend regional workshops following the detection and eradication of grain storage insects with strong phosphine resistance in the Central Midlands region.

The practical on-farm workshops are supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and are free to attend.

WA grain storage expert Ben White said the strain of grain storage insects near Koorda was WA’s sixth documented population of highly phosphine resistant insects, all of which have now been eradicated.

“Highly resistant insects are of major concern because phosphine is the only effective fumigant available to farmers for the control of grain storage insects,” he said.

“Phosphine is also the fumigant of choice used in WA’s grain bulk handling systems.”

Mr White said the insects were identified by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) phosphine resistance initiative team which takes thousands of grain samples from silos around the grainbelt.

“The insects were eradicated by a team led by DAFWA entomologist Rob Emery and grain storage consultant Chris Newman, as part of this project supported by the GRDC and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC),” he said.

Mr White said keeping WA free of phosphine resistant insects was important to maintain the State’s insect-free export record.

“Phosphine resistance occurs through using phosphine in seed and storage silos that are not adequately sealed to meet the Australian standard,” he said.

“A series of workshops will be conducted in and around Koorda to help farmers understand how to identify resistant stored grain insects and avoid breeding them.”

For more information and to register for the events, contact the Grains Industry Association of Western Australia on 08 6262 2128 or

Growers are encouraged to diarise the following dates:

  • Koorda – June 26
  • Minnivale – June 26
  • Wongan Hills – June 27
  • Wyalkatchem – June 27.

Information about controlling grain storage insects is also available at the GRDC Stored Grain Information Hub


Caption: Good hygiene around grain storage is vital to prevent insect populations developing.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Ben White, Kondinin Group
0407 941 923


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code PAD00001

Region West