European house borer: management strategies

Page last updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2023 - 4:55pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Information on management strategies available for EHB.

EHB management

In order to protect WA from the potentially devastating effects of EHB, the State Government introduced new legislation on 7 February 2006 called the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006.

The regulations restrict the movement, storage, treatment and disposal of untreated pinewood within EHB affected areas, known as Restricted Movement Zones (RMZs). Penalties of up to $2000 may apply for a breach of the regulations. Assistance from individuals and businesses in complying with these regulations has played a large role in reducing the spread and infestation of EHB.

There has also been one case of timber infestation in Albany, where the infested structural timber had been transported from Perth.

Future success to contain EHB will depend on business and community awareness to prevent infestation and minimise further spread due to human movement of host pine materials.

Recommended guidelines

You can play a role in reducing EHB infestation and spread by adhering to the following:

  • have homes built with untreated structural pinewood annually inspected by an EHB accredited pest controller. Accreditation for borer inspection is approved by the Department of Health
  • do not remove untreated pinewood from a RMZs where the pinewood has been exposed to the environment for 72 hours or more
  • movement restrictions do not apply to pine furniture that has always been kept indoors. Examine and report evidence of borer activity for example adult beetle exit holes
  • do not remove pinewood from local government verge side collections, waste bins and pine plantations
  • dispose of untreated pinewood waste materials in local government verge collection, waste bins, or direct to local refuse facilities. Waste timber includes firewood, off-cuts, disused furniture, and dead tree trunks and branches
  • do not leave stored pinewood  structural and non-structural materials exposed to the environment for more than 72 hours
  • store untreated pinewood you want to keep for 72 hours or more in a suitable insect pest resistant building, enclosure  or keep fully enclosed in plastic wrapping or other suitable material
  • fumigation treatment must be undertaken by a licensed fumigator, usually at an industrial facility. Chemical and heat fumigation treatment provide NIL preservative or residual timber protection
  • chemical preservative treatment provides protection from insect attack according to the manufacturers label directions for application and warranty.


Many businesses are involved in the use and transport of untreated pinewood, such as:

  • the movement of construction pine or articles derived from pine, such as pinewood pallets, crates, boxes, dunnage and packaging
  • use of pinewood as part of building and site construction works
  • storage of pinewood material on business sites.

For businesses operating or conducting business within RMZs, the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006 impose restrictions.

To view a complete copy of the EHB regulations, visit the State Law Publisher website or contact call (08) 9368 3080 or email

Movement restrictions apply to untreated pinewood that has been exposed to the environment for 72 hours or more. Storage of pine must be within a suitable building, or if impractical, kept fully enclosed in plastic wrapping or another authorised material to prevent EHB infestation.

Breach of regulations may result in penalties of up to $2000.

The WA Building Code also requires pine used as a primary building element should be treated to ensure durability. In RMZs, EHB non-susceptible materials such as treated pinewood MUST be used (refer to building page).

Minimising risk

The department conducts surveillance of affected businesses to identify ‘at risk’ EHB host materials and breaches of EHB regulations.

It is strongly recommended businesses conduct ‘at risk’ self-assessment to identify, develop and implement pinewood operational handling procedures compliant with EHB regulations.

Compliance measures to consider:

  • movement of EHB host pinewood materials on and off site
  • storage arrangement 72 hours or more
  • disposal of waste pinewood
  • use of non-susceptible materials.

Permit to remove untreated pinewood

EHB host pinewood that has not been stored correctly and assessed as ‘at risk’ may require fumigation at an industrial facility or removal to a waste disposal facility.

Call (08) 9368 3080 or email to request a department assessment and to obtain a movement permit compliant with EHB regulations.

Waste management services must hold a valid EHB movement authorisation permit to collect waste pinewood from a RMZ.

EHB regulations restrict removal of ‘at risk’ pinewood materials from a RMZ.


Host pine trees for EHB can be in commercial plantations or scattered across the metropolitan area. Adult borers will generally remain at the one site until over population forces flight to nearby trees.

Untreated pinewood has been a popular choice for roof framing in WA since 2000. In 2009 the owner of a Perth house reported borer infestation and further analysis confirmed it was EHB.

Buildings and houses containing untreated pine roof structures, such as those in the newer suburbs of Perth, will have an increased risk of infestation without ongoing steps to prevent further EHB spread.

The WA Government has introduced strategies to prevent further infestation, and in described RMZs areas, restrictions under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006 apply.

Maps of EHB restricted movement zones indicate affected locations. These may be viewed to check your particular suburb.

The effectiveness of these restrictions and guidelines relies heavily on the support of residents and the building industry. Only through compliance and early action can homeowners reduce EHB spread and infestation risk, and minimise damage should infestation occur.

Owners should ensure any home built with untreated pinewood in EHB RMZ is annually inspected by an EHB accredited pest controller. 

Recommended guidelines:

  • when building in a RMZ, use treated pine or other non-susceptible materials (as per Building Commission (BC) Advisory Notes 2009/002 and 2009/004). Contact the BC on 1300 489 099 for more information
  • pine furniture (including outside furniture and furniture that has been in storage) should be broken so it is unusable before placing on the verge. This reduces the risk of the furniture being taken and reused.
  • pine furniture may be placed outside a few days before a verge collection. Furniture should not be placed outside weeks in advance.
  • small quantities of pine furniture may be placed in council green bins for disposal.
  • council waste facilities will also dispose of pine furniture. 
  • regulations for pine furniture removal only apply to within RMZ zones however residents outside RMZ are also encouraged to dispose of pine furniture as per guidelines.
  • burning of unwanted pinewood must be in accordance with local government permit
  • do not leave untreated pinewood materials exposed to the environment for more than 72 hours
  • store any untreated pinewood materials that you want to keep indoors
  • residents’ furniture always kept indoors should be inspected for signs of borer exit holes before removal from an affected RMZ
  • know what to look for - EHB descriptions
  • collected suspect insects should be placed in a sealed container and taken to the department reception office at 3 Baron-Hay Court South Perth for further entomological analysis.


Builders are expected to play an important role in EHB containment.

Builders are in an ideal position to identify infestation in renovation works, and can prevent future spread and infestation through the use of treated pinewood and other EHB non-susceptible materials in new construction.

Additionally, builders can help to minimise spread through care in the movement, storage and disposal of untreated pinewood timbers and products used on building sites.

Use of EHB non-susceptible materials

As of August 2009, non-susceptible materials, such as treated structural pine timber, must be used when building in RMZ.
This requirement was mandated by the Building Commission (BC) in August 2009 through Advisory Note 2009/002:

“Susceptible timbers (pine and other softwoods) used in areas infested with EHB must be treated to ensure durability, or non-susceptible materials must be used. An infested area is defined as a Restricted Movement Zone (RMZ).
Where pine is used as a primary building element in an RMZ, it must be suitable for hazard level H2 or higher (refer Appendix C of AS1684.2 for more information)”.

Advisory Note 2009/004 was also issued by the BC as supplementary information.

For further information the treatment options available for untreated pinewood, refer to our treatment page.

Recommended site works planning

Builders and sub-contractors should consider the following procedures before and during any building construction, in an effort to minimise EHB spread and infestation.

Pre-tender procedure:

  • verify site locality is, or is not, within a described RMZ
  • plan for impact of EHB restrictions on construction materials and sub-contractor use of untreated pine articles
  • develop EHB risk management plan (refer to business page for more information).

Pre-start procedure:

  • ensure risk management plan is part of ‘check list’
  • site supervisor to be advised that EHB Regulatory staff visit.

On-site procedure:

  • dispose of all untreated pine refuse through waste management service collection or direct to local government refuse facility
  • provide suitable storage building, enclosure or plastic wrap for untreated pine structural and non-structural pine articles; if not collected for refuse disposal.

Permit to remove untreated pinewood

If pinewood has been exposed to potential EHB infestation, business and residents cannot remove these articles from the RMZ without treatment or written authorisation from EHB Regulatory staff.

Signs of EHB infestation are not readily found and EHB life-cycle is at least two year period before adult borers emerge through the timber surface leaving exit hole(s).

A waste management service must have an EHB movement permit to remove untreated pine waste.

Fumigation must be undertaken by a licensed fumigator at an industrial facility.

Request a written movement permit by contacting call (08) 9368 3080 or email


Local Government:

Local governments within RMZ areas are required to play a role in reducing EHB spread and infestation through compliance with restrictions under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006.

Negotiations have been ongoing to ensure local governments are complying with these regulations. Local governments have also been encouraged to undertake EHB risk assessments, to identify untreated pinewood handling and related work practices, and to make changes to minimise EHB spread and infestation.

Specifically, EHB officers have been liaising with building, waste services and parks/gardens supervisors within RMZ-based local Councils to assess issues such as:

  • movement of untreated pinewood in and out of RMZ areas
  • clearing of dead pine tree branches and pinewood waste from Council parklands and landholdings
  • destruction of pine waste.

State Government:

The Department of Agriculture and Food is undertaking consultation with stakeholders to discuss the impact and management strategies.

Most importantly, the transition will require increased support from industry, government and communities in carrying out EHB surveillance, and embracing future containment.

The EHB Program focus is:

  • extension and improvement of current EHB training for pest controllers
  • development of a national communication strategy for EHB education and awareness
  • continued State communication activities to ensure uptake of risk minimisation strategies
  • implementation of interstate quarantine regulations for the movement of EHB host materials from WA.


Poor management of untreated pinewood waste can lead to increased EHB spread and infestation. Pine waste includes firewood, off-cuts, dead tree trunks, branches, and disused furniture and other materials.

In areas already affected by EHB, exposure of untreated pinewood waste materials to the environment for more than 72 hours may result in infestation. In turn, unrestricted movement or subsequent use of this timber could spread EHB to non-affected areas, and lead to infestation of other host material, such as roofs built with untreated structural pinewood.

Proper management of pinewood waste is an important issue for all members of the community, including residents, local governments and industry.

EHB larvae can live undetected in untreated pinewood from 2-12 years. It is only when EHB emerges as an adult beetle that visible exit holes are formed. This covert nature means all untreated pinewood waste must be treated as potentially infested.

Recommended guidelines

In summary, the following guidelines should be followed when dealing with untreated pinewood waste.

  • do not leave untreated pinewood waste materials exposed to the environment
  • do not re-use untreated pinewood waste materials
  • do not keep pinewood waste. Dispose of in local government waste bins, or at EHB approved refuse facilities
  • do not move pinewood materials from verge side collections or plantations.

Local government

Local governments should ensure their domestic waste programs use facilities with approved disposal procedures in place, to prevent the survival of EHB in timber waste. Additionally, the movement of untreated pinewood waste to facilities located outside of EHB infested areas may also require authorisation. Waste must be:

  • chipped so the volume of pieces are less than 100cm3
  • burned
  • buried more than one metre below the surface of the ground
  • stored in a suitable building or enclosure, or wrapped in plastic or another authorised material.

Permit to remove untreated pinewood

If pinewood has been exposed to potential EHB infestation, business and residents cannot remove these articles from RMZs without treatment or authorisation. This requirement also applies to pinewood waste.


Treatment of pinewood is important in reducing EHB spread and infestation.

Treatment of structural pinewood to be used in housing construction/renovations within RMZ areas is now mandatory (see Advisory Notes 2009/002 and 2009/004). For further information, contact the Building Commission on 1300 489 099 or at

According to the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006, untreated pinewood exposed to a RMZ environment for more than 72 hours cannot be removed from that RMZ without proper treatment, disposal or authorisation.

Treatment options

In accordance with the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection (European House Borer) Regulations 2006 pinewood is required to be treated in accordance with this regulation:

  • treated with a preservative in accordance with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1604 series of Standards relating to the preservative treatment of timber products
  • fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with subregulation (2)
  • fumigated with another fumigant chemical in a manner approved by an authorised person
  • heated to a core temperature of more than 60°C for not less than 30 minutes.

The Building Commission's Advisory Note 2009/002 requires untreated structural pinewood to be treated to ensure durability, in accordance with the Building code of Australia and AS 1684.2 Clause 1.8.

Inter-state import regulations also require treatment of EHB host material originating from RMZ areas.

Real estate

Real estate agents are encouraged to take a leading role in providing EHB information to buyers in RMZs, where EHB has been found.

EHB infests untreated pinewood, and many homes built since 2000 in WA have been built with untreated pinewood structural timbers.

Accordingly, buyers of homes within RMZs areas should be referred to pest inspectors who have been trained in the identification of EHB infestation. Buyers may also benefit from advice on treatment options for new construction or existing timber structures.

Real estate agents are encouraged to increase their awareness of all EHB issues, including descriptions and signs of infestation.

Agents should be particularly focused on high risk suburbs, such as newer suburbs adjacent to pine plantations and large scale infestations.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080