Winter campaign to raise awareness of BMSB
This year’s national winter campaign to help raise awareness of a particularly unwanted pest to the kiwifruit industry – the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) – is now underway.
BMSB poses a major threat to New Zealand's horticulture industry, with the potential to cost the country nearly $4 billion if it established here.
There is always the chance the unwanted pest could arrive in parcels and with other imported items. We very much want the public to help us with our surveillance efforts. The BMSB winter campaign focuses on showing people how to correctly identify BMSB and report it. BMSB looks like some other bug species but has elements that make it identifiable, including white stripes or banding on its antennae and abdomen. The bug is about the same size as a 10-cent coin.
The winter campaign follows the spring-summer campaign of 2021/22, which saw stink bug ads appear on people's phone and computer screens. The campaign had a great result, appearing on computer screens more than 13.5 million times.
Winter is the time when BMSB is most likely to be found in enclosed spaces and indoors. This can cause problems for homeowners. As summer comes, any BMSB is more likely to be found outdoors, for example in gardens.
The 2021/22 BMSB season finished on 30 April, with 61 live bugs intercepted, mostly associated with imported cargo. There continues to be no evidence of any established BMSB population in New Zealand.
The number of live interceptions has dropped considerably over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the introduction of import rules that make it harder for BMSB to enter New Zealand on risky cargo such as vehicles, machinery, and parts from countries with established stink bug populations. Such cargo must be treated before arriving in New Zealand during the BMSB season.
Biosecurity New Zealand further tightened its border controls during the just-completed season. This included introducing targeted alerts on additional goods associated with BMSB detections. Consignments covered by the alerts underwent full inspection to rule out the presence of live bugs.
The fact we have no established BMSB populations in New Zealand suggests that the current biosecurity approach is working well. However, the risk of an incursion is never zero, which is why we all must play our part in keeping an eye out.
Anyone who thinks they've found BMSB should catch it, snap it (take a photo), and report it. BMSB can be reported to the KVH office on 0800 665 825 or to Biosecurity New Zealand’s hotline 24/7 via either the online reporting tool or freephone 0800 80 99 66.
Find out more about BMSB on the KVH website.