The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been detected in Port Melbourne.
The bug was found in an Agriculture Victoria trap which was put out as a precaution after Victoria’s first BMSB detection in Clayton in December.
Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Rosa Crnov, said Agriculture Victoria had increased surveillance and trapping activities within a two-kilometre radius of the detection in Port Melbourne.
BMSB is an exotic nuisance pest that feeds on more than 300 types of vegetable crops, fruit and ornamental trees, and can cause significant damage.
It shelters inside homes and buildings, vehicles, machinery and sheds, producing a very unpleasant odour when it is disturbed or squashed, hence the term ‘stink bug’, but it poses no risk to human or animal health.
“With Agriculture Victoria responding to three detections this season, we have been reminded how easily bugs like the BMSB can enter Victoria,” Dr Crnov said.
“The bugs have been linked to terracotta pots and earth-moving machinery here in Victoria, and other items such as new shoes and glassware internationally – so it is important that Victorians report any suspect bugs found in imported goods, including household online shopping, and that they even check their luggage when returning to Victoria from international holidays.”
BMSB surveillance is continuing at Clayton and Dandenong South, with recipients of terracotta pots from the Dandenong South warehouse being contacted and asked to be on the look out for any bugs.
“We need all residents of Melbourne, but especially in Port Melbourne, Clayton and Dandenong South, to be on the lookout for this stink bug. If you see a bug, catch it, take a photo and contact us.
“Reporting any suspect bugs will help us establish if there are any more, and if there are more we will work to stop their spread.”
The federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources put in place strengthened biosecurity measures offshore and at the border for the 2018-19 season and has been intercepting and treating high risk imported goods.
The BMSB is 12 to 17 mm long, has a distinctive brown ‘shield’ shape and variable body colour, with black and white banding around the outer edge of its body.
For more information, including how to identify the BMSB, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/bmsb.
If you suspect a BMSB, make a report to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.