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Marmorated stink bug increases risk for horticulture

Australian and NZ authorities on alert for new pest

Australian and New Zealand authorities are on heightened alert for a new pest in the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) following an increase in detections in both countries.

A major threat to the horticulture sectors in both countries, BMSB is native to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. In 1998, the bug was introduced to the United States where it is now become a major concern in orchards with some farmers reporting up to 90% in crop damage. It has now spread to Europe as well.

BMSB feeds on a range of fruit and vegetables including grapes, apricots, peaches, apples, cherries, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes, corn and pears, using its proboscis to pierce the host fruit.

In Australia and New Zealand, there are less destructive native species of stink bugs.  

Image - United States Dept of Agriculture

Australia's Quarantine and Inspection Service found live BMSB in containerised electrical goods in December 2017 and a mix of dead and live bugs in containerised bricks mid-January - both originating from Italy.

Very recently live and dead BMSB were found in a consignment of imported goods in Perth, Western Australia

New Zealand biosecurity detected the pest in three recent Japanese car shipments. Based on the latest detections, new inspection regimes on all used vehicles being imported from Japan will undergo inspection and cleaning at an MPI-approved facility prior to export.

MPI Biosecurity and Environment Manager, Paul Hallet, said in a statement any used machinery or other types of used vehicles from Japan will require certification proving it has undergone a cleaning regime by an appropriate provider.

"Nearly 95% of used vehicles from Japan already pass through approved facilities that are designed to eliminate the risk of biosecurity threats like seeds and hitch-hiking organisms such as gypsy moth."

"The requirement will now be compulsory for all imports. The changes will significantly reduce the chance of transporting dirty vehicles and machinery that could contaminate other cargo."

"The move is a result of an unprecedented spike in the number of stink bugs arriving at the border from Japan in bulk carriers."

Three bulk carriers were directed to leave New Zealand recently due to excessive contamination.

Australia has now put strict additional treatment protocols in place for containerised goods from Italy including heat and methyl bromide. These protocols will be reviewed in April 2018.

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industry issued an advisory stating BMSB is unlikely to be imported on fresh produce due to its trying to hide when being disturbed during harvest and packing operations.

Publication date: 2/26/2018
Author: Phil Pyke
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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