We need your weevils: survey to measure phosphine resistance in grain storages


As part of a continuing, national effort to measure the resistance of insects in stored grain to phosphine, the Victoria’s Grains Biosecurity Officer, Jim Moran, wants to visit farms to collect insects in and around grain storages.

The project is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation via grain grower levies and will benchmark the distribution of insect resistance to phosphine around Australia. It builds on previous efforts in this important research area that has shown a growing trend for insects in stored grain to be resistant to treatment.

Phosphine resistance threatens the livelihood of grain growers by wasting time, money and effort on futile treatments. The damage to grain by insects also lowers grain quality, price and marketing opportunities.

Jim Moran says that insect resistance needs to be measured and managed carefully and safely, in conjunction with hygiene and other practices.

“We need to know where and what level of resistance exists now to minimise the impact in the future through more informed resistance management strategies,” said Jim Moran.

The national surveillance project will collect insect samples from grain storages on farms in Australia. This will provide technical data on overall resistance trends and contribute to identification of new resistance hotspots and the efficacy of current resistance management activities.

“I expect to collect insects of various species in Victoria. Each species will be tested for phosphine resistance at the NSW Department of Primary Industries laboratory in Wagga Wagga.”

If you are not in Victoria but would like to have your storages checked for phosphine resistance, contact Jim and he can put you in touch with Grains Biosecurity Officers in other states.

“If growers would like insect samples collected from their property for free testing for the degree of phosphine resistance, they need to contact me. Even if you were involved in the last survey, I would like to resample to check for resistance trends.”

Once on site, Jim will explain the sampling process and ask about the types of grain stored, pesticides used and any pest problems.

All visits and results are confidential and free. Jim will also provide free biosecurity signs and grain biosecurity manuals on request. He can be contacted by phone on 03 5430 4479 and Jim.Moran@agriculture.vic.gov.au