AGRICULTURE Victoria is responding to a detection of brown marmorated stink bug in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne.
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a 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’s disturbed or squashed, hence the term ‘stink bug’, but it poses no risk to human or animal health.
Agriculture Victoria is the state leadfor agricultural biosecurity in Victoria, responding to detections and suspect reports for plant pests.
Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Rosa Crnov, said there was a heightened risk of BMSB entering Australia by hitchhiking on imported goods between September and April.
Agriculture Victoria has commenced trapping and surveillance within a twokilometre zone around the detection point in Clayton.
“We are following our standard biosecurity procedures, working to determine if there are any other stink bugs with the aim of preventing any further spread,” Dr Crnov said.
The federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources put in place strengthened biosecurity measure offshore and at the border for the 2018-19 season and has been intercepting and treating high risk imported goods.
Brown marmorated stink bugs are 12 to 17mm long, have a distinctive brown ‘shield’ shape and variable body colour.
Dr Crnov said Melbourne residents should not be concerned but should do their part by keeping watch for the bug around their homes and are encouraged to monitor their fruit trees.
“You can identify a stink bug by looking at its back, the back is veined and has distinctive black and white branding around the outer edge of its body,” Dr Crnov said.
“If you see one, trap it in a container and put it in the freezer and make a report to Agriculture Victoria, do not crush it as we may need to test the sample.”
If you suspect a BMSB, make a report to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email email@example.com.