Detection of Heterobostrychus aequalis (lesser auger beetle) in Cairns, Far North Queensland

Publication Date
Wed, 25 Jul 2018, 07:30
Last Updated
July 25, 2018, 7:30 a.m.
Report Number
Report Status
Heterobostrychus aequalis is primarily a pest of seasoned hardwood timber and can infest green and felled trees. It has a wide host range (~35 species) and can damage logs, sawn timber, packing cases, pallets, plywood, furniture and other manufactured wooden articles.
Pest Status (old values from ISPM 8 -1998 )
  • Present: only in some areas
Pest Status (ISPM 8 - 2021)
  • Present: not widely distributed and under official
Geographical Distribution
Cairns district, Far North Queensland

Heterobostrychus aequalis is intercepted each year in imported timber (e.g. furniture, dunnage). Heterobostrychus aequalis appears to have failed to establish elsewhere in Australia despite a high border interception rate. While its distribution is limited, the National Biosecurity Management Group has determined that it is not technically feasible to eradicate Heterobostrychus aequalis from the Cairns district because detections have been reported on three sites in two geographically distinct suburbs. The source population has not been identified and the pest is likely to have been introduced into Cairns on multiple occasions over several years.

A recent research paper (Wylie and Peters (2016) Lesser Auger Beetle Heterobostrychus aequalis (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) in Australia: absent or elusive? Austral Entomology, Volume 55, 330-333) described recent detections of this species around the Cairns area and indicated that a localised established population is potentially present. Delimiting surveillance and awareness activities in the Cairns district determined that the known distribution of Heterobostrychus aequalis is limited to Cairns, in Far North Queensland. Heterobostrychus aequalis was recently found in a mango timer slab and furniture made from mango timber at one property and in prunings from Calliandra sp. at a second property (which had been the source site for the mango timber of the first property). Delimiting surveillance and awareness activities over a year resulted in no further detections on these two properties. However, Heterobostrychus aequalis was then found on a third property in cut logs.
Contact for info
Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer Australian Government Department of Agriculture GPO Box 858 Canberra ACT 2601 [email protected]
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