Horticulture

Watch out for stink bug this summer

By Rodney Woods

Victorians are reminded to look out for exotic pests like the brown marmorated stink bug this summer, and report any they might find.

The brown marmorated stink bug was detected for the first time in Victoria about one year ago after hitchhiking on imported goods.

Agriculture Victoria responded to detections in Clayton, Dandenong South and Port Melbourne, setting up a two-kilometre surveillance and trapping grid in each area.

Victoria’s chief plant health officer Rosa Crnov said while surveillance did not detect any stink bug populations, everyone should be on the lookout to ensure none were hiding during winter and are now on the move.

“Keep an eye out around your home, work building, vehicles, machinery, shed and garden for this destructive nuisance pest — especially if you grow fruit or vegetables,” she said.

Brown marmorated stink bug is an economically damaging pest that could attack more than 300 types of crops and become a real nuisance for households if found in Victoria.

“September through to April is the high-risk time for brown marmorated stink bug,” Dr Crnov said.

“It can enter Victoria through hitchhiking on imported goods, and even more so through the heights of summer.”

Dr Crnov also advised online shoppers receiving parcels from overseas to keep an eye out for the bug in goods and packaging.

“Brown marmorated stink bug can hitchhike to Australia on a range of things, from commercial shipments to individual parcels of products such as kitchenware or shoes.”

If you suspect you have found brown marmorated stink bug, or any other kind of exotic pest, report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email a photo, along with your contact details and the pest's location, to: plant.protection@agriculture.vic.gov.au

For more information, visit: agriculture.vic.gov.au/bmsb