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15 December, 2021

Stink bug falls foul to sniffer dogs

The 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.

A brown marmorated stink bug.

The dogs detected the single live bug in the wheel arch of a used dump truck, discharged onto 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 front line 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 pome, 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.

“I understand detector dog Velvet made the initial alert. Her find was then confirmed by two other dogs. Biosecurity officers took immediate steps to contain the situation.

“That included subjecting further ship cargo to thorough detector dog screening and deploying traps on site in accordance with the government’s brown marmorated stink bug Response Strategy.”

The brown marmorated stink bug season runs from 1 September to 30 April.

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