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Hitchhiking bugs cause a stink

Emergency measures introduced in 2014 to prevent an exotic stink bug establishing itself in Australia were so successful that similar measures have been implemented annually during the highest risk period for this pest, from 1 September to 30 April.

Head of biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Lyn O’Connell, said keeping the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug out of Australia was important to protecting our $9.2 billion horticulture industries, our environment and our way of life.

“These stink bugs emerged as a biosecurity threat to Australia in 2014 and the strength of our national biosecurity system has allowed us to respond very quickly to address any risk to Australia,” Ms O’Connell said.

“In 2017 the department analysed the measures that were put in place at the border each season using the latest science and data available and found them to be highly effective.

“While the measures previously applied to at-risk goods from the United States, the spread of this pest means we are now extending those measures to similar goods arriving from Italy and all European ports which load the same goods manufactured or stored in Italy during the risk period.

“And we have the capacity to apply specific measures to goods from any country if there is a significant and active risk of the stink bug arriving in Australia from that country.

“The biosecurity measures include enhanced inspection, pre-shipment fumigation or heat treatment and approved safeguarding arrangements for specific break bulk and containerised cargo from the US and Italy.

“These stink bugs are pests to about 300 plant species including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants, and arrive on goods such as trucks, boats, cars and pieces of machinery.”

Ms O’Connell said Australia’s biosecurity system saved farmers an average of $17,500 per farm per year.

“Permanent border measures during the annual stink bug season is one more way that Australia’s biosecurity system is protecting agricultural productivity and our valuable export markets,” Ms O’Connell said.

Source: Australian Government

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