Check export fynbos for bugs, industry advised

Authorities in the Netherlands, which dominates the cut flower industry with more than 60% of world trade, has been tasked by the EU to intensify inspections of all food and horticultural products with emphasis on pests and diseases, Fynbos Voice said in a media statement.

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This meant that the SA fynbos industry would have to sharpen the insect and disease control strategies already in place, to ensure continued access to the EU markets, said Fynbos Voice. “We therefore urge all fynbos producers to be thorough with pest and disease control, especially of veld harvested products,” said Fynbos Voice.

“The cost of destroying a consignment which did not pass the inspection can be astronomical. Not to mention the potential threat to the industry as a whole.”

The following pest- and disease control guidelines are given to ensure that all are aware of the control measures that could and should be taken to ensure compliance.

Disease control:

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  1. Post-harvest treatment for control of Botrytis on Leucospermum and Leucadendron is advised as follows: Immerse the flower head in Scala (12ml/10L water; active ingredient pyrimethanil) plus Teldor (7.5ml/10L; active ingredient fenhexamid) or Rovral (20ml/10L; active ingredient iprodione) plus Teldor. Allow to dry off completely before packing. Also note that post-harvest temperature fluctuations will lead to condensation on the flowers which will worsen Botrytis infections. A pre-harvest spray programme should also be followed in areas where there is moisture coupled with mild temperatures during flower development. Botrytis can form latent, symptomless infections in the field which can then develop into visible symptoms post-harvest
  2. Packhouse/coldroom sanitation: wash or spray tables, walls, floors with Terminator (8ml/10L water) on a regular basis. Buckets should be cleaned with a bleach product on a daily basis and clean water should be used for hydrating flowers.

Insect control:

  1. Prior to picking flowers for export, an application of a pyrethroid insecticide (e.g. deltamethrin) should be made. These insecticides have a wide-spectrum effect to kill or repel most insects that might be present in the field/veld.
  2. Picking of Protea flowers should be done at ‘soft bud’ stage, before pollen has been released to attract insects.
  3. Flowers should be inspected for borers before packing and any infested flowers should be discarded.
  4. Post-harvest treatment: Spray flowers with dichlorvos EC (1% = 10ml/L water) in the pack shed using a backpack sprayer, during the flower hydration phase. If Protea flowers are picked after opening, they will necessitate injecting gas-action insecticide into the flowerheads. Additionally, the inside of the cartons can be sprayed with household contact insecticide to kill crawling insects during transport. Or pieces of carton soaked in a 10% solution of dichlorvos can be placed in the carton with the flowers.
  5. Fumigation: This procedure is necessary when the phytosanitary requirement is for ‘no live insects’. A fumigation room is required with a false ceiling to ensure circulation over the flowers. The fumigation kicks off with Phostoxin (Pestigas, 15g/m3), followed 15 min later by dichlorvos (Insectigas, 15g/m3). Fumigation takes place at 9°C to ensure efficacy. After fumigation flowers should be shaken to remove dead insects and packed where there will not be contact with un-fumigated flowers.


  1. Keep detailed records of all pesticides applied pre- and post-harvest.
  2. Do not use pesticides shortly before harvest or post-harvest that leave a visible residue.
  3. Ensure proper calibration of spray equipment on a regular basis.
  4. Train the flower packers to spot quality/phytosanitary issues and to report it ASAP. Regular eye tests for packers responsible for quality inspection are advisable.

The export standards for fresh flowers as set out by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and enforced by the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) is available on DAFF’s website.