Measure category: pest management

Risk reduction objective: minimise exposure to pests when the commodity is vulnerable

Measures in this category include

  • Agrochemicals
  • Attract and kill
  • Biological control
  • Hygiene
  • Sanitation
  • Other pest management tools
  • Integrated pest and disease management

Note that this resource is a working draft, which is currently being reviewed and updated in collaboration with biosecurity specialists.

Overview of measure category

A wide range of pest management options can be used singly or in combination to minimise exposure risks to pest populations when susceptible hosts or carriers are present. Requirements for pest management measures can range from being prescriptive (such as timing and nature of sprays) to open-ended (such as “implementation of IPM” or “presence of biological control agents”).

Required proof of efficacy

Confidence is needed that when pest management measures are correctly applied they will keep pests to acceptably low levels at times when the commodity is susceptible, across the range of field conditions and pest pressures under which production might occur. Confidence is especially important where pest monitoring is not part of the pest management measure (e.g. calendar-based spraying) or is not included as an additional measure.

How these measures are certified

Evidence needs to be provided that management actions have been undertaken in the agreed way. This is most often done through maintaining an auditable record of treatments and through on-site audits.

How these measures are used

Common production measures, many of which can also be applied to manage post-production pest exposure risks (e.g. to prevent pest establishment in storage facilities). Multiple pest management measures can be required within one protocol where they have complementary modes of action, such as spraying and hygiene practices. These would be ‘dependent measures’ as they all combine to reduce pest abundance in the field. Multiple measures are sometimes combined as elements within an Integrated Pest and Disease Management programme. Where pest management activities are accepted as being standard practice within an industry then their impact may be factored into the risk assessment, rather than becoming a requirement within a protocol.

Relationship with other measures

Often pest management measures are combined with pest freedom or low pest prevalence measures at area-wide or registered site scales. This can lead to redundancy. For example, pest management may not be required on registered sites where pests aren’t detected through monitoring or where they can be adequately managed through a corrective action. In such cases pest management can be provided as options to reduce the risk of pests triggering a corrective action or rejection threshold, provided it doesn’t affect the surveillance program. Once optional it no longer becomes a phytosanitary measure. An important consideration in the design of a phytosanitary systems approach, and particularly relevant in the pest management category, is to avoid the inclusion of measures that are incompatible. For example, the requirement for application of systemic pesticides as a corrective action may negatively impact biological control or integrated pest management measures.

Consignment stages where these measures can be applied

Attract and killYesYesNo
Biological controlYesYesNo
Other pest management toolsYesYesNo
Integrated pest and disease managementYesYesNo

Measures in detail: pest management

MeasureRequired proof of efficacyHow the measure is certifiedHow the measure is usedRelationship to other measures
Agrochemicals are used to manage pest abundance in the registered site through killing one or more life stages. A wide range of applications may be used depending on the pest, including insecticides, fungicides, oils, soil drenches and fumigants. Application may be calendar-based (i.e. at set times or intervals, irrespective of pest abundance) or risk-based (as determined through e.g. pest monitoring, modelling or an environmental trigger).
Evidence is required to demonstrate efficacy of the application regime. For risk-based applications the setting of action thresholds also needs to be supported.Spray records retained for audit. In the case of risk-based applications, records also need to demonstrate that triggers for action are being monitored and followed.A common pest management requirement during production. Calendar spraying is used most often, whereas risk-based spraying is most consistent with Integrated Pest and Disease Management Principles. MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) requirements may limit the use of chemicals and how and when they are applied.Typically combined with other measures, including other pest management measures such as hygiene. It can also be used as a corrective action (measure element) as part of a pest freedom or low pest prevalent measure. Agrochemicals can also directly reduce infestation rates by killing the pest in or on the commodity, thereby simultaneously addressing two risk reduction objectives. For example, systemic pesticides can kill internal insect feeders and fungicides can kill pathogens on the commodity’s surface, whilst also managing pest populations in the registered site. 
Attract and kill
Includes a range of techniques such as bait sprays, mass-trapping, sticky traps, pheromone lures, and the use of trap crops. Agrochemicals are often used to provide the kill function. Alternatively, traps may contain a liquid to drown the pests.
Demonstration that efficacy of the device array (e.g. type, density, positioning, lure replacement schedules) will sufficiently reduce pest abundance.Records can be retained for audit, and the array can be inspected in-field.Rarely used as a stand-alone pest management measure.Differs from the use of attractants for surveillance, where the primary purpose is detection rather than control. Differs from “agrochemicals” as it uses an attractant. Can be used as a component of Integrated Pest Management.
Biological control
Use of biological control organisms such as parasitoids and predators to manage pest populations. Depending on the organisms, they may already be present in the registered site and require no additional intervention. Alternatively, timed, inundative releases may be required. This might also include the release of sterile insects (SIT).
Evidence that agents will reliably manage pest abundance to the required level.Not always stipulated but could involve providing evidence that the organisms are present, or records of releases in the case of inundative control or SITOnly applicable where pest thresholds are not zero. Biological control is rarely identified as a specific phytosanitary measure, but where effective biological control agents are established across the production system it may contribute to estimation of unrestricted risk levels.Most often biological control is incorporated into an IPDM package (as a contributory measure) rather than being specified as a stand-alone measure. If biological controls are combined with other pest management measures, then they need to be complementary.
Removal of potential hosts, sources of inoculum or pest vectors.
Evidence is required to demonstrate the link between the management of unmanaged pest hosts or reservoirs and infestation risk when the commodity is susceptible. For example, to demonstrate that post-harvest destruction of waste fruit will help reduce pest abundance in the following growing season. This may require detailed understanding of pest biology, including of pest dispersal and the extent across which alternative hosts need to be managed.Practices need to be auditable, which may involve keeping a record of hygiene practices, and auditing the outcome of hygiene practices through in-field inspection.Hygiene is one of the most required pest management measures. It can include the destruction of unharvested produce, removal of pest reservoirs through pruning, and the management of alternative hosts. It can be considered a standard commercial practice (e.g. the destruction of rejected produce), and therefore contribute to the risk assessment. It is most often a requirement during production but can also be applicable for example to storage facilities and their immediate vicinity.Hygiene is typically combined with other pest management measures and is often an element of IPDM. Managing alternative hosts may also be a requirement in the maintenance of pest free areas. In specifying the level of hygiene required, consideration should be given to avoid excluding opportunities for IPDM or biological controls. For example, retention of refugia for beneficial insects may be necessary to support such measures.
Cleaning, washing or disinfecting equipment and facilities specifically aimed at managing pest abundance on surfaces from which pests could transfer onto the commodity or carrier.
Evidence is required to demonstrate that sanitation reduces the risk of pest transference.Practices need to be auditable. Compliance may be inferred through inspectionSanitation is a common industry practice across the supply chain. It is a common measure to prevent infection by pathogens in pest-free production facilities (e.g. glasshouses, tissue culture laboratories) and processing plants, and where pathogens can be moved between hosts through cultural practices. Can be used to support pest freedom or low pest prevalence, or pest exclusion measures. Differs from hygiene in that the focus is on killing or neutralising the pest on surfaces rather than removing sources of inoculum. Differs from “surface cleaning” the commodity or carrier, which specifically relates to reducing infestation rates on the commodity.
Other pest management tools
A wide range of other pest management tools are available.
Demonstration that efficacy of the technique will sufficiently reduce pest abundance.Certification requirements will depend on the pest management tool.Not commonly encountered as stand-alone measures. Includes cultural practices such as crop rotation and the use of mating disruption chemicals.Typically incorporated into IPDM rather than being used as stand-alone measures.
Integrated pest and disease management (IPDM)
Coordinated application of multiple pest management options, typically guided by a combination of ongoing pest monitoring, modelling and crop phenology. Often the aim is to achieve pest management goals whilst minimising pesticide use within the production system. IPDM can also be applied area-wide in which case it requires coordinated management beyond the registered site.
Evidence to show that IPDM will consistently contribute to managing pest abundance.Compliance can be assessed through an audit of monitoring and control records and of pest management processes against an IPDM document that has been approved by the importing jurisdiction. However, it may be difficult to ascertain what ‘properly’ is, and whether the producer did it ‘properly’. Area-wide IPDM is typically managed by an overarching authority as it most often spans multiple land uses and jurisdictions.Industry-specific best management guides can provide management options under different conditions (such as under high or low pest abundance). This can provide considerable leeway for the producer in terms of what management options are applied, when and where. Production systems commonly use IPDM practices, which can contribute to the setting of “unrestricted risk” but its inclusion as a phytosanitary measure is less commonIPDM is often combined with additional measures aimed at minimising exposure to pests during production, most demonstration of pest freedom or low pest prevalence at the registered site or area-wide scale. Area-wide IPDM may include SIT (biological control) as one management tool.

Key references

  • Key references will be determined through consultation with biosecurity specialists and added here in the coming months.