Myrtle Rust

Myrtle Rust is an extremely serious threat to the flora of Western Australia. Gardeners, bush walkers and wildflower enthusiasts visiting Western Australia from other states are prime vectors for infection.

If you have been in – or anywhere near – a myrtle rust infected area, you should make sure that any clothes you take on a tour or excursion (including hat) have been laundered and camera cases, etc wiped down before coming to Western Australia, and certainly before entering bushland.

Vehicles that have been in contaminated bushland are very difficult to clean, as myrtle rust spreads by spores.  Expert advice from the Australian Network for Plant Conservation is as follows:

  • Personal:  Spraydown of all clothes and gear that has NOT been laundered since use in east-Australian bush (i.e. ordinary machine detergent wash), using 70:30 meths/water spray.  Includes hats, camera cases, raincoats, bag contents.
  • Clothes and other fabric items (general, not just what they are wearing on the day):  standard machine wash with ordinary detergent.
  • Items too large for machine:  includes trailers, tarps, tents and flies, rucksacks … manual wash-down (detergent) or thorough inside/outside spray-down (70 meths/30 water) immediately prior to departure or before arrival in WA.  Wash-down should be with commercial-grade detergent (TruckCleanse, FarmCleanse or similar) in water.
  • Vehicles:  Ideally the inside surfaces of vehicles, especially fabrics, should also be sprayed with the 70/30 metho/water mixture.

From the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (personal communication).  Further details:

More information from the WA Dept of Agriculture and Food: