Stink bug threatens Italian kiwifruit
Fruit crops including pears, apples and kiwifruit in some of Italy's major producing regions are reportedly under grave threat following an unusually widespread outbreak of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
The insect is said to be worryingly prevalent this year across much of northern Italy, including Piedmont Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Trentino-South Tyrol and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
According to reports, the outbreak is so serious that some believe it threatens to wipe out Italy's entire pear crop, with estimated potential damage to that sector alone ranging from €250m to in excess of €400m (around $430m - $685m NZD) and the government has been called on to set up an emergency committee to tackle the problem, which has been further aggravated by an unseasonable climate.
A local agricultural body has confirmed the bug has been detected in Italy's so-called golden quadrilateral, an area linking Ferrara, Modena, Bologna and Ravenna that is responsible for producing almost three-quarters of the country's pear crop. The group's regional president said, “the reality is beyond our imagination and even more negative than any ominous initial forecast".
KVH Chief Executive Stu Hutchings will be in Italy in a few weeks attending the annual IKO (International Kiwifruit Organization) convention to discuss biosecurity and plant health with global producers, including Italian counterparts. He will also take the opportunity to visit research providers in USA to see field application of control work for both BMSB and Spotted Lanternfly. Post-convention he will visit some Italian orchards and nurseries to assess biosecurity issues that they face in their kiwifruit production.