Kiwifruit research prominent at national BMSB event

19 August 2021

KVH took part in the national Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Symposium last week in Napier, which was a great opportunity to bring together the New Zealand research community to share our work and ideas, and ultimately better prepare New Zealand for this unwanted pest.

We were lucky to have Dr. Tracey Leskey from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) join remotely as the keynote speaker to discuss latest research efforts in the USA to control BMSB.

Their work has focussed on biological control; understanding what regional environmental conditions drive population densities; and developing area-wide management programmes. This research will help provide a foundation for long-term, sustainable management of BMSB.

The Mid-Atlantic states have been battling BMSB for over 10 years now, and while the worst appears to be over, BMSB will remain a threat to cropping systems. This is reflected in Tracey’s closing statements highlighting that “BMSB is no longer at crisis point, but the battle persists”.

Several other international researchers also joined the Symposium to provide brief updates on research and management initiatives across USA, Italy and Chile, before New Zealand’s BMSB preparedness was discussed in detail, including presentations from the kiwifruit industry.

KVH highlighted our research in Italy to better understand BMSB impacts on-orchard (you can see a summary of the research presented here); Shane Max from Zespri spoke about our experiences of BMSB in offshore kiwifruit orchards; and Chandan Pal from Zespri summarised our current control options.

While the kiwifruit industry, and New Zealand, has come a long way over the last five years in terms of managing the risk of BMSB getting here and preparing in case it was to establish, the serious threat of this unwanted pest remains. The Symposium was timely to reflect on what has been done, what needs to be done, and how we can further align our research priorities so that we do everything we can to keep this stink bug out of the country.