Sniffer dog thwarts stink bug import

Bio-security success at Brisbane port highlights threat from imported brown marmorated stink bug

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Sniffer dogs are used to good effect in locating the brown marmorated stinkbug hiding in imported machinery.

Sniffer dogs are used to good effect in locating the brown marmorated stinkbug hiding in imported machinery.

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Velvet the sniffer dog scored a biscuit or two this week after arresting a tough hitchhiker at Brisbane port

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A brown marmorated stink bug uncovered in shipping cargo this week by Velvet the sniffer dog highlights the biosecurity risk of this worldly pest.

Shipped goods, like the second hand dump truck deposited on the Brisbane wharf where Velvet found her target under a wheel arch, are an ideal transient habitat for the bug, which has caused problems in soybeans in Italy and threatens stone fruit and vegetable production all over the world.

Federal minister for agriculture, David Littleproud, says Australia has strengthened seasonal measures to manage the stinkbug with biosecurity officer and detector dog numbers now increased in order to manage the hitchhiker pest threat.

The brown marmorated stink bug has caused damage to soybeans in Italy after arriving on board ships and has since been exported.

The brown marmorated stink bug has caused damage to soybeans in Italy after arriving on board ships and has since been exported.

Brown marmorated stink bug, one of Australia's most potentially hazardous hitchhiker pests, was recently discovered by biosecurity detector dogs conducting routine surveillance on an imported truck at the Port of Brisbane.

The dogs detected the single live bug in the wheel arch of a used dump truck, discharged on to the Brisbane wharf from an overseas cargo vessel. Remote diagnostics was used to immediately confirm it was an exotic brown marmorated stink bug.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said this detection was evidence of the benefit of the government's increased resourcing for frontline defence, as part of the government's $400 million 2021-22 Budget commitment to biosecurity.

"Brown marmorated stink bugs are voracious feeders, prolific breeders, and not easily controlled with pesticides," Minister Littleproud said.

"If they got a foothold here, heavy losses to our stone fruit and vegetable industries could occur given that losses of up to 90 per cent for pome and stone fruit industries as well as heavy losses to vegetable crops have been reported internationally.

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