Continuing Australia’s defence against stink bugs

Strengthened biosecurity measures are again in place to safeguard Australia’s industries and environment from one of horticulture’s most damaging plant pests—the brown marmorated stink bug.

The department’s Deputy Secretary responsible for biosecurity, Lyn O’Connell, said government and industry have been working closely together on new measures to manage the risk of these pests in the lead up to stink bug season starting on today.

“Brown marmorated stink bugs have the potential to attack around 300 different plant species and could seriously harm our $8.7 billion horticulture sector,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Analysis of previous detections has shown that the main way this pest could come into Australia is on international shipping vessels and they are most likely to arrive on cargo and containers shipped from the United States between September and April.

“To get on the front foot, we have put additional treatment measures in place to manage the seasonal risk of infestations in break bulk and sea cargo from the United States.

“These measures are largely the same as those put into action last season, which proved to be successful.

“They include continued offshore pre-shipment treatments for high risk goods, and increased inspections and surveillance at our seaports.

“This shows that the government and industry are committed to taking decisive action to prevent this damaging and nasty pest from arriving in Australia and seriously impacting on our industry and environment.”

The brown marmorated stink bug is a highly invasive pest that feeds on and severely damages fruit and vegetable crops. It is also considered an environmental pest and a nuisance to humans, as adults enter vehicles, homes and factories in large numbers in autumn months, looking for places to shelter over winter.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources encourages members of the community, including those who work at or near our ports, to report suspected sightings of brown marmorated stink bugs to the See-Secure-Report hotline on 1800 798 636.

More information on the brown marmorated stink bug and the new measures in place to keep out of Australia is available online.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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