The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been detected in a Dandenong South warehouse. The bug is an exotic nuisance pest that feeds on more than 300 types of vegetable crops, fruit and ornamental trees, and can cause significant damage.
It shelters inside homes and buildings, vehicles, machinery and sheds, producing a very unpleasant odour when it is disturbed or squashed, hence the term ‘stink bug’, but it poses no risk to human or animal health.
Agriculture Victoria is initiating response activities. Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Rosa Crnov, said that surveillance, trapping and tracing activities had begun within a two-kilometre radius of the detection point. There is a heightened risk of BMSB entering Australia by hitchhiking on imported goods between September and April each year.
The federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources put in place strengthened biosecurity measures offshore and at the border for the 2018-19 season and has been intercepting and treating high risk imported goods.
Dr Crnov said Melbourne residents should not be concerned but should keep watch for the bug around their homes. Residents are encouraged to monitor their fruit trees. The BMSB is 12 to 17 mm long, has a distinctive brown ‘shield’ shape and variable body colour.
According to agriculture.vic.gov.au, this is Victoria’s second post-border detection of the BMSB. The bug was also found in Clayton on 14 December 2018 with surveillance activities continuing in that area. The two incidents are unrelated.