World expert helps the kiwifruit industry prepare for BMSB

07 September 2017

Last week KVH and Zespri hosted two international Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) experts, Dr Tracy Leskey and Dr Kim Hoelmer, to refine our approach for managing this pest should it manage to establish in New Zealand.

They attended a meeting with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and other horticultural sectors where they provided input into our national response plan for BMSB, including how we would respond to an initial detection, and attempts at eradication.

Dr Leskey also presented to kiwifruit growers early in the week. The entomologist and researcher for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed BMSB with more than 100 people who packed into The Orchard Church in Te Puke to learn more about the unwanted pests impacts on horticulture, post-harvest facilities, and residential areas in the USA.

Dr Leskey went into detail about actions underway in the USA to manage BMSB in crops; the importance of collecting good dispersal and behavioural information about the bug; effective insecticides; biological control options; and various border strategies such as traps and trap crops like sorghum and sunflower.

As a coordinator of StopBMSB – one of the world’s largest research initiatives into BMSB, involving more than 50 researchers across 18 organisations – Dr Leskey will continue to work with KVH and Zespri to fill knowledge gaps around our New Zealand eradication plans, as well as potential long term management and control options within kiwifruit orchards.

Much of what Dr Leskey discussed is mentioned in the StopBMSB integrated pest management fact sheet available online, which provides a synopsis of what researchers have learned so far, and management recommendations using an integrated approach.

Growers at the meeting watched a new video demonstrating the impacts BMSB has had on gold kiwifruit in Italy – you can view it on the KVH YouTube channel here.

KVH detailed the work being done to ensure the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is prepared for BMSB, including a promising control strategy in the form of a biological control (the Samurai Wasp), in the latest KVH Annual Report. More information about response and long term management plans should the bug establish in New Zealand, is also available on the BMSB page of the KVH website.