[14 July/ Stuff]

New Zealand orchardists and vegetable growers hope the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) doesn’t find its way into the country, after devastating US crops and threatening crops in Europe. The bug feeds on over 300 host plants, including citrus, pipfruit, stonefruit, berries and grapes, corn, honeysuckle and roses. NZ growers and the Government have signed the BMSB Operational Agreement to prepare for the bug’s arrival, clarifying responsibilities and funding agreements for the programme. Horticulture New Zealand Biosecurity Manager Richard Palmer said the number of stink bugs arriving at the border were rising. The Ministry for Primary Industries said the country’s biosecurity system works to keep BMSB from establishing in NZ through mechanisms such as strict import requirements and inspections on imports from countries with high levels of BMSB. An application signed by many organisations, including MPI, has been made to the Environmental Protection Authority to introduce a Samurai wasp which destroys BMSB eggs.