An alert warehouse manager has helped save the horticultural industry from a potentially devastating pest after an exotic Italian stink bug was found in electrical equipment.
After the discovery, a long control and monitoring program was launched by Biosecurity officers, and it’s now been declared the Brown Marmorated stink bug is no longer a biosecurity risk.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the bug was spotted in Glendenning late last year by warehouse manager John Matakaiongo in a shipment of imported electrical equipment from Italy.
“Stink bugs are known to stow away in cargo coming out of the Northern Hemisphere, so while we’re free of it for now I would urge everyone to be on the lookout over the summer months,” Mr Blair said.
“Stink bugs are a major threat to our horticultural industry, they pierce the outer surface of fruit or vegetables, injecting their saliva and sucking out all the juices, causing rotting and damage to crops.
“Stink bugs can spread easily if they are not detected early as they are strong fliers, travelling up to two kilometers in a single flight. They can often seek shelter in houses and buildings and while they pose no threat to humans, when disturbed their odour described as similar to coriander or dirty socks."
“The quick identification and eradication of the stink bug highlights the success of NSW’s shared responsibility approach to biosecurity. Community reports of suspicious finds are the best weapon we have in the fight to protect the NSW environment, economy and community from the threat of pests and disease.”
The NSW DPI and Greater Sydney Local Land Services (LLS) mounted a 12 month operation in response to the sighting, treating vegetation around the detection site, inspecting almost 2000 traps, searching more than 300 hectares of bushland, industrial and residential areas, and deploying more than 180 pheromone traps. No further bugs were located.
The community is urged to report suspect sightings by contacting the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.