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"NL: "Tiger mosquito poses a danger to the cut flower industry"

The recent discovery of a tiger mosquito at the Royal FloraHolland flower auction shows that the regulations regarding the import of the Lucky bamboo ornamental plant are not tiger mosquito-proof. That’s the opinion of Dutch platform ‘Stop invasive exotic plants’. In addition, the whole cut flower industry is at high risk because the countries where the Netherlands exports to, do not accept tiger mosquitoes in the cut flowers. The industry should put pressure on the Minister of Public Health of the caretaker government to quickly adjust the regulations for Lucky bamboo and enforce compliance strictly, the platform urges.

Tiger mosquitoes can transmit more than 20 viral diseases, such as dengue, chikungunya and zika. A well-known entry route is the import of the Lucky bamboo ornamental plant (Dracaena sanderiana) from China, from where the tiger mosquito originates. Already since 2005, tiger mosquitoes have been found at Lucky bamboo importers, located in the Westland and Aalsmeer area.

Wilfred Reinhold, chairman of the platform: "In the beginning covenants were used, but because they did not appear to work, the Minister of Public Health, under pressure of the Lower House, in the end drafted regulations based on the Commodities Act. Initially these regulations were banning the import of tiger mosquitoes with Lucky bamboo, but this ban was subsequently removed by the minister. Now, the only obligation is that the importer must fight the mature tiger mosquitoes and the larvae in the quarantine room of the greenhouse.

"The Rotterdam Court last year found that these regulations show gaps, because the tiger mosquito has two stages: an egg and a pupae stage. The importer does not need to take action against these. If tiger mosquitoes are found in his greenhouse, this does not necessarily constitute a violation and enforcement is not possible, according to the court. In this way it can happen that the importer takes Lucky bamboo with tiger mosquitoes to the auction. In the auction house, the tiger mosquitoes could lay eggs in the cut flowers placed in water.

"The whole cut flower industry is at high risk. They should ask minister Edith Schippers of the caretaker government to immediately make Lucky bamboo regulations ‘tiger mosquito-proof’ and strictly enforce compliance," said Reinhold.

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