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Watch for Unwanted Bugs in Internet Purchases

bmsb adult 200 140A recent incident where stink bugs got through border biosecurity checks should be a warning to Hawke’s Bay people purchasing items through the internet.

In the next few weeks as Christmas parcels arrive from overseas, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is supporting MPI Biosecurity’s message that people need to take the right steps if they find insects or plant material in their packages.

A man recently found 26 Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in a box of shoes ordered through the internet.  The bugs got through biosecurity measures at the New Zealand border.  On opening the parcel, the man immediately took the shoes and wrapping into his bathroom, closed the door and window, and called the Ministry for Primary Industries. The insects were quickly contained, killed and no longer pose a biosecurity threat.

“Biosecurity is critical for Hawke’s Bay as many people’s jobs and livelihoods rely on healthy agriculture and orchards.  And even if you aren’t working directly in this area, your lifestyle and income relies on that economy not being devastated by stinkbugs or any other pests,” says Campbell Leckie, HBRC’s Manager Catchment Services.

“As it's not physically possible for MPI to check every parcel, especially in the Christmas rush, we need every New Zealander to be biosecurity watchdogs. Alert MPI immediately if you find insects or plant material in any parcel from overseas.”

Stink bugs could have a huge impact on the region’s agriculture, lifestyle and economy.  The stink bug is a major problem in parts of North America after being accidentally introduced from Asia.  It is also established in Europe and South America.  Many insecticides are not effective controlling it. 

There are also other insects and plant pests that have the potential to ruin crops or even native plants.

What you can do

Keep watch for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. If you think you’ve found one – catch it in a jar and call MPI immediately on 0800 80 99 66.

What does these look like?

Adults are about the size of a $1 coin and have:

  • white banding on the antennae
  • alternate black and white markings on the abdomen
  • eggs that are light green, barrel shaped, and found in clusters of 20-30.

MPI Biosecurity’s website has information to help with identification and to differentiate this bug from similar local species.    There is also information on other biosecurity alerts that New Zealanders should be aware of.

20 December 2018

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