Biosecurity and the Brown Mamorated Stink Bug

Biosecurity is the protection against unwanted pests, disease and contaminants. In New Zealand, all New Zealanders have a biosecurity responsibility to protect New Zealand against unwanted pests diseases and contamination. This is so that New Zealand’s environment, economy and people’s health are protected.

Many other countries around the world have many pest and diseases that New Zealand would not want. When they go on a picnic they might have poisonous snakes and spiders in long grass, under timber or dark places. Many pests are voracious eaters of multiple host plants and are a risk to our horticultural industries and the New Zealand who likes to grow vegetables in their backyard.

The Brown Mamorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an example of a pest that New Zealand doesn’t want. It is present in many countries throughout the world, for example, in Italy, America, Egypt, Asia, China and many other countries. The Brown Mamorated Stink Bug is an insect that is about one-centimetre-long. It has a shield-shaped back that has spots around the outside of the shield shape. When it is cold, it hibernates. It hides in dark corners and then when the weather gets warmer, it comes out and populates.

The Brown Mamorated Stink Bug comes to New Zealand with imported goods and cargo as hitchhikers in sea and air containers. It can be found around wheels of vehicles, household goods, and any sort of packaging and appliances. For example, a sea container was opened in Wellington this week and Brown Mamorated Stink Bugs were disturbed. As the door opened, they started to come out immediately. The person opening and devanning the container closed the door to stop the escape of the Brown Mamorated Stink Bug into our environment.

The container would have been closed and sent for the fumigation of methyl bromide. This is a dangerous chemical that is used for fumigation. It is a chemical used throughout the world. Although countries are wanting to reduce its use by 2020, New Zealand has not come up with anything else as effective as an alternative.

Spring and Summer are the seasons of the year when the Brown Mamorated Stink Bugs are most prevalent. Accredited Persons at transitional facilities need to be on the lookout for these insects and they should notify MPI as soon as they are seen, contain and report them.

Some countries fumigate containers off shore for pests like Brown Mamorated Stink Bug. This means that the containers have a treatment certificate to say that the container should not contain these pests and there is no risk of the imported goods coming into New Zealand with these pests. However it is well known that many countries and companies do not use the fumigation requirements up to the required specifications and not all the insects are killed on fumigation.

An example to show the pest is a nuisance, is that the sidewall of a house might be covered with the pest or they might swarm through a garden or horticultural area eating all the plants in its path. We do not need this or what it might do to New Zealand’s economy environment and our lifestyle. Please protect New Zealand from the Brown Mamorated Stink Bug.

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