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CRC20137: Khapra Beetle Diagnostics

This project established a National Reference Laboratory for Dermestidae, with particular reference to the genus Trogoderma. The laboratory provides molecular and morphological diagnostic services and training. It also provides a resource for other biosecurity projects, potentially providing methods specific to surveillance and contingency plans, in the event of incursion of pest Trogoderma.

Research outcomes:

  1. A national laboratory with expertise in the diagnostics of khapra beetle and related species has been established within DAFWA
  2. A trapping program to collect species similar to khapra beetle has been conducted, collecting approximately 10000 specimens from 91 sites around Australia
  3. There has been ongoing taxonomic work to understand and better recognise khapra beetle and related species and to provide training and other resources to help with the recognition of this pest
  4. A DNA ‘fingerprint’ type technique has been developed to perhaps allow future identification of khapra beetle using rapid and reliable DNA tests

Research implications:

There has been considerable work done to improve our ability to recognise khapra beetle. Work has been done to study similar species, provide resources to help others identify the species, and develop new tools with the potential to rapidly identify the species. There is a great opportunity for some of these new tools to significantly improve our ability to detect and identify khapra beetle rapidly.


There is a very long list of people warranting thanks, far too many, to be named here. Hopefully all those who’ve assisted with the project and especially AGI collaborators in the trapping programme, understand our appreciation of their efforts. One person requiring special attention is DAFWA’s Mike Grimm who was one of the driving forces behind the project in its early stages.

Thanks to CRC/GRDC for their funding and other support with the project and to DAFWA for their institutional support for the project.


March 2009 - November 2011
$995,635 (cash and in-kind support)