Hunting BMSB in Chile
KVH was part of a group that recently visited Chile to assist in the response against the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) which was detected in Santiago earlier this year.
The trip was part of New Zealand’s joint readiness efforts for BMSB under Government Industry Agreement (GIA), and included representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), NZ Winegrowers, HortNZ and Plant & Food Research. The group met with Servicio Agricola y Ganadero (SAG, the Chilean equivalent to MPI), growers, scientists and industry representatives to discuss the current situation and the threat that BMSB poses to both Chile and New Zealand.
The trip objectives were to better understand BMSB’s distribution in Chile, which information suggests is confined to a relatively small urban area of Santiago, and to test and refine our own response strategies in a real response to an urban post-border detection.
One of the most significant challenges with trying to eradicate BMSB has been the difficulty in detecting the pest when it is present in only small numbers, which is when the window for eradication may exist. MPI has been funding research in the US to develop more sensitive trap technology and overcome this hurdle. The group took 50 of the latest BMSB traps and lures and working with Chilean authorities, established a grid of traps surrounding the area where BMSB have been detected in Santiago.
These traps use a pheromone and chemical synergist to draw BMSB into the immediate area of the lure, trapping them on sticky plastic cards. The lure lasts for 12 weeks and the traps need to be monitored regularly. The delegation conducted the initial check of the traps just prior to leaving Chile. While no BMSB were seen or caught in these traps while the group was in Chile, SAG will continue monitoring and will share data which will provide valuable insight into our own surveillance efforts.
Hosted by Carlos Cruzat of the Comité del Kiwi, the group also visited kiwifruit orchards and a research institution south of Santiago to better understand these operations and establish relationships should BMSB establish and manage to spread to horticultural regions in the future.
One of the key messages for both parties was the effectiveness of New Zealand’s new approach to biosecurity with government and industry working collaboratively under GIA, which commits all parties to come together to improve readiness for future biosecurity events, and jointly respond to future outbreaks.
Under GIA, operational agreements establish the details for readiness and response activities, including the roles and responsibilities of all parties before, during, and after a response, as well as cost-sharing detail.
This was reflected in the composition of the group with representatives from science, industry and government all able to offer different knowledge and perspectives on readiness activities, and able to demonstrate what these activities have achieved for New Zealand’s readiness to date, especially as we do not have the pest yet.
KVH’s activities to ensure we are all prepared for BMSB, if it were to arrive and establish here, include running regular simulation exercises, hosting workshops, and developing joint workplans for how we would manage an incursion and long-term response. View the BMSB Kiwifruit Response Plan (A) for information about how the industry is ready for a New Zealand incursion on the KVH website. You can also read the BMSB Kiwifruit Management Plan (B) online for information about long term management considerations.