Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officers are conducting intensive surveillance around Dandenong South to look for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).
The exotic pest was detected in Victoria for the first time in December 2018 in Clayton and detected again in an unrelated occurrence in Dandenong South a month later, hitchhiking on imported goods.
Sticky traps and pheromone traps are being used in areas around foliage for a two-kilometre zone around the detection point.
If the pest became established, it could have a significant impact on Victoria’s horticulture. During warm weather it feeds on more than 300 types of fruit trees, vegetables crops and ornamental trees, including apples and pears, peaches, cherries, berries, grapes, grains and tomatoes.
During the cooler months, it has the potential to be a serious nuisance pest as it will seek shelter and aggregate in people’s homes, sheds and vehicles. It is resistant to bug sprays and produces an unpleasant odour when it’s disturbed or squashed.
Residents in Melbourne’s south-east are encouraged to be aware of this threat, and keep an eye out around their properties, especially in their gardens this summer.
If they see one, secure it in a jar or zip lock bag and store it in the freezer, and report your suspect detection by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including how to identify the BMSB, visit the Agriculture Victoria website.
Thanks to the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center and US Department of Agriculture for contributing images and video to this production.
Some of the video and photographic images used are based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crop Research Initiative under award numbers 2016-51181-25409 and 2011-51181-30937.