Red alert for stink bug
23 February 2017
MPI has been investigating two recent discoveries of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). Both investigations relate to single adults found in hotel rooms by staff. One was found in Whitianga and the other in New Plymouth. The discoveries appear to be unrelated. Investigators have concluded each bug hitch-hiked in luggage with travellers from the United States. In each case, MPI investigators and survey teams have found no further individuals. BMSB is a serious horticultural pest, considered number 2 on Kiwifruit’s Most Unwanted biosecurity threats (after fruit fly). There are no market access impacts from this pest, however, it can cause serious production impacts, including fruit loss reported to be in the region of 30 percent. These investigations reflect the fact BMSB pressure at the border has been at an all-time high this summer. MPI staff have intercepted a record number of both dead and live bugs.
- MPI says there have been 44 separate BMSB “interception events” this summer, of which 38 involved containers from Italy. Some of these interception events contained numerous individuals. While the majority were dead, almost 30 percent were alive on arrival.
- BMSB is currently undergoing a population explosion in Europe, similar to the situation in the United States 5 to 10 years ago. These detections reflect that shift in risk and will be of particular interest to kiwifruit growers because of the industry’s links to Europe. We must be vigilant when receiving any visitors or imports from Italy.