Response to brown marmorated stink bug risk

September 24, 2015

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has identified an increased risk associated with brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB; Halyomorpha halys) from the United States and implemented seasonal import measures from 1 September 2015.  The stink bugs can arrive in Australia on cargo and containers between September and April, coinciding with late autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere. This stink bug has become a significant production problem for many plant industries in the United States since its initial detection in 2001.

It is also a major nuisance in urban areas, building to very high numbers when temperatures increase in spring and summer. As well as being a good flyer, this pest displays strong hitchhiking behaviour on vehicles, containers and in packing material and has now spread to 41 states in the United States.

A BMSB response strategy for Australia is being developed by Plant Health Australia (PHA) and is expected to be available for comment in December 2015. In developing the Response Strategy, PHA will be working with researchers in the United States to learn from their extensive experience and findings.  Prior to release, PHA will be seeking feedback from plant industry members on the Response Strategy.

The department is undertaking a range of activities to mitigate this risk. Activities include:

  • Import measures relating to targeted break bulk and containerised vehicles (including boats) and machinery shipped from the United States implemented from 1 September 2015 to 30 April 2016 inclusive. Australia has established revised treatment conditions which align to those conditions being implemented by New Zealand.
  • A field guide has been released. The guide will support field identification of BMSB and related exotic species, and includes high resolution images of BMSB.
  • A pest risk assessment is currently being prepared and is expected to be released for comment in September 2015.
  • A national surveillance protocol aimed at early warning situations has been drafted and will be provided to the Subcommittee on National Plant Health Surveillance for input and endorsement. The department will be undertaking surveillance at ports, quarantine approved premises and distribution centre throughout the BMSB season.
  • A fact sheet is available on the department’s website and provides general information on the pest.
  • Pesticides and control techniques used overseas are being reviewed.

Any sightings of stink bugs should be reported to the department on 1800 798 636.

For further information on the PHA BSBM Response Strategy email Sharyn Taylor or call 02 6215 7733.

Identification guide for brown marmorated stink bug (Halymorpha halys and other similar bugs)

Frequently asked questions