Stink bug measures show results

11 June 2020

Strict biosecurity requirements for imported cargo have reduced the threat of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and even tougher rules will be introduced next season.

There were 57 interceptions of live BMSB during the 2019/20 season (September to April) – a reduction of 73% from the previous season. Of these, 28 were detected at the border. The others were largely individual hitchhikers detected after the border with personal effects carried by arriving international passengers.

The reduction shows the success of introducing offshore treatment requirements to ensure high-risk goods arrive clean from countries with established BMSB populations. The import rules targeted vehicles, machinery, and parts from 33 identified risk countries, and all sea containers from Italy during the stink bug season.

New Zealand officials worked closely with Australian counterparts during the season to develop the offshore treatment programme and to ensure overseas-based facilities met biosecurity requirements. There will be more collaboration with Australia in the lead-up to next season, particularly around ensuring cargo arrives stink bug-free from European treatment providers, many of whom are operating with reduced staff because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biosecurity New Zealand is looking at adding three new countries to the list of those requiring special measures to send vehicles, machinery, and parts to New Zealand. There are also plans to extend the current treatment requirements for sea containers from Italy to cover at least another two stink bug seasons.

Rigorous border checks and post-border surveillance to intercept any hitchhiking bugs will continue to operate.

During the last season, KVH co-funded a nationwide summer BMSB education campaign with Biosecurity New Zealand and other horticultural sectors to lift public awareness around the damaging impacts of the pest and increase the likelihood of early detection through surveillance. Read about the results of that campaign on the KVH website here.

Also, a reminder that during the stink bug season KVH publishes monthly updates about detections and what is being done by industry and government to reduce risk (including details about trapping and surveillance in the Bay of Plenty). These are available on the KVH website.