What KVH is doing to keep BMSB out

22 February 2018

Working alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and other horticulture industry groups, KVH has been working hard to raise awareness of the threat and impact of BMSB crossing our borders. This work has included meetings with importers and transporters of machinery and other high-risk goods to ensure they are fully aware of the biosecurity measures they must take.

We’ve planned to ensure that as an industry we’re well prepared for BMSB, if it were to arrive and establish here. This includes running regular simulation exercises; hosting workshops with industry, MPI, and other horticultural sectors; and developing joint workplans for how we would manage an incursion and long-term response.

KVH is working with other industry groups on an application for the release of a biological control, the Samurai Wasp, which would help the fight for eradication/control in the event BMSB establishes here.

The wasp is a natural enemy of BMSB and it’s effective in suppressing populations by up to 80%. It’s tiny, the size of a pinhead and doesn’t sting or bite humans or animals. The application is seeking pre-approval because a quick release of large numbers of the wasp during the early phase of a BMSB incursion would be critical to eradication efforts. Even if eradication wasn’t successful, early release and establishment of wasp populations would still reduce the likelihood of large populations of BMSB developing.

Over the next few weeks we’re also going to be out re-visiting some specific groups to remind them about the threat this bug poses and how important is to be on the lookout. We’ll specifically get information to transitional facilities, car importers, and hostels/backpackers.

The national awareness campaign for BMSB continues. In January there were the highest month of calls about stink bugs to the MPI 0800 number. There were 133 calls over the month, compared to 60 in December and about 70 in November. More than 70% of the calls so far this high-risk season have been directly attributed to the campaign which is great news – it shows the message is being seen and people know to make a report if they spot anything unusual.

February sees a final push to raise awareness amongst the public with ads appearing on Stuff, the Herald, TVNZ and 3-news sites. The TV3 onDemand TV service is also now playing the Ruud Kleinpaste video during programmes as well.

Kiwi Gardener magazine publish social media posts about BMSB and they are sending an email to their almost 5000 strong e-newsletter database. We have ads appearing in the autumn edition of go-Gardening (the free magazine found in garden centres) too.

The BMSB page on the KVH website includes fact sheets about how to identify this bug, videos, and latest data on recent finds at the border. Share these resources with your staff and family so that everyone knows what to look out for and the potential grave consequences of any incursion.