Look out for the brown marmorated stink bug this spring


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The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an insect that feeds on fruits and vegetables and over winter shelters inside homes and buildings, vehicles, machinery and sheds.

BMSB produces a very unpleasant odour when it’s disturbed or squashed – hence the term ‘stink bug’. 

Originally from eastern Asia, this pest it is now widespread in North America and Europe and has been recently detected in Australia. The stink bug most likely entered Australia by hitch-hiking on imported goods such as machinery and vehicles stored in shipping containers, or other imported products arriving by ship.

 BMSB targets agricultural produce. The stink bug feeds on about 300 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including apples and pears, peaches, cherries, berries, grapes, grains, sweetcorn, tomatoes and tree nuts. It also attacks some ornamental and weed plant species. 

Look for BMSB around your home and in your garden, especially if you have fruit trees. Adults are between 12-17mm long with a distinctive brown shield-shaped body. The shield colour varies but is generally mottled with a reddish tinge. BMSB has distinctive banding on its antennae and the outer edge of its body. This banding helps to distinguish it from other native Australian stink bugs.

During the risk season between September and May each year, the Commonwealth Government imposes strict import conditions for goods imported from countries with BMSB. This period coincides with the stink bug seeking to shelter indoors from the colder conditions in the northern hemisphere.

Urban and community gardeners are asked to remain vigilant in their gardens for BMSB. When opening packages from overseas, make certain you check for any hitchhikers that may be present.

If you see a stink bug, secure it in a jar or zip lock bag and store it in the freezer. Report your suspect detection by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email plant.protection@agriculture.vic.gov.au.

Further information

For more information, including how to identify BMSB, visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

 

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