Managing stink bug finds close to home

14 December 2017

In a timely example of the high-risk season being well and truly upon us, there was a report on on the first day of summer about 15 Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) being found at the border by staff within a transitional facility in Christchurch.

This report followed on from a news item out of Australia where BMSB were found in Sydney a week prior.

In both the Christchurch and Sydney examples the bugs were found in cargo that had been imported from Italy, and fumigated (in accordance with both country’s strict biosecurity protocols) pre-arrival. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is following up the incident with the fumigator in Italy and is also working closely with Australian counterparts to learn more about what happened in their case.

KVH is in regular contact with MPI about the finds to make sure the cases are followed up thoroughly. We have been strong advocates for the tightest possible measures to reduce the likelihood of pest entry and have worked with MPI in the last 18 months in relation to interceptions of both BMSB and White Peach Scale on consignments of Italian kiwifruit, and improved import requirements such as this summer’s amendments to rules for the import of vehicles, machinery and other equipment from Italy.

Both recent interceptions illustrate what we already know: this is the high-risk season for many of our most unwanted pests and they could cross our border from any source. The diligent action taken by the transitional facility approved person in Christchurch who notified MPI allowed biosecurity risk to be mitigated very quickly. Proof of the difference we can all make and that we – as an industry and as individuals – must be vigilant, know what to look out for, and immediately report any potential finds.

The BMSB page of the KVH website contains information and short videos about the impacts of this bug on homes, orchards, and industries overseas. There are also monthly KVH Risk Updates that detail activities underway over the high-risk season to reduce the risk of this pest getting here and establishing, and one page easy to read readiness plans that describe the work KVH and the kiwifruit industry have done to ensure preparedness for a New Zealand incursion.