The New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries has taken notice of all of the brown marmorated stink bugs making their way into the country. NZ has decided that this issue can’t be left unchecked, and, with some help from pest control in Brisbane, they’re taking steps to counter this problem.
The stink bugs were discovered, hiding in imported machinery brought in from Japan sometime in February.
As a result of the steps taken by the MPI, all used vehicles that’ll be imported to New Zealand; cars and trucks included, must now undergo inspection and cleaning by an MPI-approved facility located in Japan prior to exportation. Machinery and vehicles, meanwhile, will also require certification that proves they underwent the inspection and cleaning process, by a proper provider.
MPI Biosecurity and Environment Manager Paul Hallett, says that about 95% of used vehicles already undergo proper facilities before exportation, in order to remove the risk of biosecurity threats, like unwanted seeds and invasive pest species, like the Asian gypsy moth. These processes will now be mandatory for all imports into the NZ, in order to avoid the scenario of dirty vehicles and machinery containing pests or other biosecurity issues contaminating other cargo.
If any cargo is found to contain biosecurity risks, they’re turned away from NZ, and taken to approved facilities for unloading, treatment, and reloading. For the four bulk carriers that were found to contain stowaway brown marmorated stink bugs, they were sent to pest control in Brisbane facilities for the necessary procedures, then sent back to NZ.
Brown marmorated stink bugs, and their cousins spotted yellow stink bugs, are pests native to Japan that feeds on several kinds of crops, including apples, cherries, kiwifruit and the like, with the ability to deal millions of dollars in damage to the agriculture industry.
MPI has said that it has already bumped up inspections of imported cargo, and is now fogging them with insecticide in order to flush out hidden pests from confined spaces. Hallet says that the MPI will be cooperating with the industry in order to develop long-term solutions for these issues. He adds that he’s keen to work with others in order to avoid solutions that need to turn away vessels around the borders.