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Shock as Chinese pest that could have huge impact on Australia is found hidden in Bunnings furniture

A burrowing beetle known to decimate wood products, including furniture, has been found inside $24 bamboo screens imported from China and sold at Bunnings. 

The bamboo screening, sold across Australia under the ‘Eden’ brand, was found to contain the stowaways by the Northern Territory’s Department of Primary Industries and Resources. 

The bamboo borer, native to Asia, is one of three beetles that are responsible for 90 per cent of insect damage on bamboo products worldwide, according to experts. 

The bamboo borer (pictured), native to Asia, is one of three beetles that are responsible for 90 per cent of insect damage on bamboo products worldwide, according to experts

The bamboo borer (pictured), native to Asia, is one of three beetles that are responsible for 90 per cent of insect damage on bamboo products worldwide, according to experts 

The department was first alerted in November 2019 by Darwin tradesperson Trevor Young after he noticed the borer holes and dust on bamboo products he bought from his local Bunnings. 

‘The specimens are the bamboo borer dinoderus minutus. The species is established in bioregions globally including Australia, and is found in most states. It is a pest of bamboo products,’ principal entomologist Dr Brian Thistleton told The Australian

While the beetle is already in Australia, their presence is heavily controlled because of the damage they can cause to timber products. 

Bunnings was alerted to the discovery of the beetle by Mr Young with the popular hardware franchise saying they had control measures in place but they were not 100 per cent effective. 

Bunnings was alerted to the discovery of the beetle by a tradie with the popular hardware franchise saying they had control measures in place but they were not 100 per cent effective

Bunnings was alerted to the discovery of the beetle by a tradie with the popular hardware franchise saying they had control measures in place but they were not 100 per cent effective 

‘We take our commitment to product quality and biosecurity very seriously and we work closely with our suppliers and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to ensure any of our imported products meet or exceed relevant regulations,’ Robert Chin, Compliance Manager Biosecurity & Nursery Standards at Bunnings told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘Our bamboo screen supplier ensures that the product undergoes fumigation to the regulated standard before it is shipped and the product is treated a second time with fumigation as an additional measure, which is above the standard requirements for this type of product,’ Mr Chin said. 

‘Because of our supplier’s thorough quality assurance protocols, cases where borer are detected in the product or the packet are extremely rare. Borer damage is also known to occur locally, as Australia has a number of indigenous and endemic borers.’

‘On the rare occasion this does occur, we follow the directions of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on the best way to safely destroy the product’ he said. 

Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud said that authorities would work with the industry to ensure such a breach is not repeated, rather than banning the importing of the bamboo products. 

Earlier in September, the Chinese government banned import of barley from Australian co-operative CBH, based in Perth, after they claimed harmful weeds were found in the product. 

China previously increased tariffs on Australian barley, widely seen as an economic warning to Australia after the government pushed for an international inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The bamboo borer beetle had been a stowaway on cargo shipments containing products for sale in Bunnings stores

The bamboo borer beetle had been a stowaway on cargo shipments containing products for sale in Bunnings stores 

The discovery of the bamboo borer also follows another invasive species of bug, the Khapra beetle, being found in a shipment of fridges from Thailand in August. 

That particular insect is not found in Australia and prompted an investigation from Australia’s biosecurity agencies. 

Three The Good Guys stores were rapidly closed as authorities scrambled to contain the beetle.  

The Khapra beetle, while harmless to humans, is known as one of the most dangerous species in the world to grain crops with the ability to decimate huge stores of the product. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Bunnings for comment. 

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