BMSB awareness campaign sets records
In February the Biosecurity New Zealand pest hotline received 323 calls about Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) - easily a record for a single month, by about 50 calls.
Everyone who calls the hotline is asked where they heard of/how they knew about BMSB. For February, 90 of those calls were attributed to “a story on TV, online, or in print”. That is almost double the number attributed to the same reason during the entire last BMSB season!
Every season, members of the BMSB Council (a group of industry organisations that partner with Biosecurity New Zealand – through the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response – to improve New Zealand’s readiness for this high priority pest) come together to run a public awareness campaign to increase knowledge about the effects of BMSB and how to identify it.
The reason for such an increase in calls is attributed to one of the campaign’s big activities for the year - the BMSB stories organised with the Aotearoa Science Agency and which aired on Newshub over two nights in early February. The same content was also organised for articles and videos published by the NZ Herald, Stuff and Radio New Zealand.
The great figures for February, and the high numbers of engagement we’ve seen on some of our digital advertising channels this summer, has also meant we’ve overtaken the record number of calls for a campaign already (with a month to spare): 1,185 calls so far compared to 937 last season.
Reports of potential unwanted pests like BMSB are a good thing – it shows that people are on the lookout and aware of the need to report threats that could be significant risks. Growers, contractors, and anyone else on-orchard are the best people to spot anything unusual early on. Stay vigilant, be on the lookout, and report anything you notice to KVH on 0800 665 825 or call the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline on 0800 80 99 66.