The hitchhiker pest Brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) is spreading rapidly through Europe and North America. In response, our federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has strengthened the seasonal measures to manage the risk of this pest arriving in Australia between 1 September 2019 and 31 May 2020, which are the high risk months when the pest is known to stowaway to escape the cool of the northern hemisphere.

DAWR has used a range of scientific, intelligence and evidence-based information to set these measures, including data collected from the 2018-19 BMSB season onshore verification activities. DAWR has also strengthened ties with New Zealand to ensure the proposed measures are consistent between the two countries.

For the 2019-20 risk season, certain goods manufactured in, or shipped from target risk countries as sea cargo will be subject to BMSB intervention. This list includes such countries as France, Italy, Russia and United States of America.

Classified ‘target high risk goods’ will require mandatory treatment for BMSB. For the wine industry these include such items as:

  • Wood and articles of wood;
  • Cork and articles of cork;
  • Glass and glass ware; and
  • Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof.

The three approved treatment options for target high risk goods requiring mandatory treatment are:

  • Heat treatment;
  • Methyl bromide fumigation; or
  • Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation.

Goods that fall in the ‘target risk goods’ category will not require mandatory treatment but are subject to increased random inspections onshore. For the wine industry these include such items as:

  • Paper and paperboard; and
  • Sulphur.

You must comply with these measures for goods categorised as either target high risk or target risk goods. This may also be the case if your non-listed goods are part of a container or consignment that contains target high risk or target risk goods.

Target high risk goods requiring mandatory offshore treatment that arrive untreated or treated by an unapproved treatment provider in a target risk country, will be directed for export on arrival. Requests for deconsolidation or segregation of goods on arrival will not be considered.

For more information about the 19-20 seasonal measures, click here.

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), is one of Australia’s top 40 priority plant pests and has the potential to severely impact our agriculture industries and cause havoc as a nuisance pest. It is a mottle brown coloured shield-shaped stink bug (adults 12-17mm long) which looks similar to many Australian native stink bugs.

The BMSB however has distinctive black and white banding around the outer edge of the abdomen, and white bands on the last two antennal segments. Juveniles and adults feed on, and can severely damage vegetable crops and fruit, including grapes. Damage to grapes further predisposes them to secondary infection, thus impacting quality and yield. Additionally, if BMSB’s are present in grape bunches when processed through the winery, compounds may be released from the stink bugs that can impact wine quality. 

Vinehealth Australia encourages all industry personnel to become familiar with this pest through reading the Quick Reference Guide (https://vinehealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Quick-Reference-Guide-Brown-Marmorated-Stink-Bug-and-Native-Stink-Bugs.pdf) which displays sizes and characteristics of the exotic BMSB compared to a selection of mostly native stinkbugs.

If you see any unusual pest in the vineyard, in a shipping container or international consignment when receiving, unpacking or using the items, secure the location to limit the movement of any insects and immediately report your finding to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or Vinehealth Australia on (08) 8273 0550.

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