Diligent port surveillance traps alien stink bug in Sydney

13 Feb 2023

Brown marmorated stink bug

Ongoing targeted seasonal surveillance of imported goods has not detected brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) in Sydney since early January 2023, following detections at Port Botany and nearby Matraville.

Surveillance is continuing in the area, led by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) with support from Greater Sydney Local Land Services and the Australian Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

NSW Chief Plant Protection Officer, Satendra Kumar, said brown marmorated stink bug is a serious threat to horticultural industries as it damages a wide range of plants, including vegetables, fruit crops and ornamental trees.

“These exotic pests are not present and not wanted in Australia. NSW DPI analysis estimates the maximum potential damage of brown marmorated stink bug on NSW’s fruit and vegetable industry could be up to $1.2 billion per year,” Dr Kumar said.

“Infrequent detections have been associated with imports and international travel, which are managed through diligent surveillance by DAFF and state biosecurity authorities.

“Brown marmorated stink bug is known to stow away in cargo from the northern hemisphere from September to April and this season's surveillance successfully detected the stink bugs before they left the target area.

“Traps have been set to detect the presence of any pest stink bug to ensure this serious pest hasn’t spread from Port Botany and Matraville.

“Sydney residents can look out for brown marmorated stink bugs by inspecting plants in their gardens.”

Information about the pest and what to look for is available on the NSW DPI website.

An adult brown marmorated stink bug is approximately 12 to 17 mm long and 7 to 10 mm wide, about the size of a five-cent coin, and emits a pungent odour when disturbed.

Brown marmorated stink bugs vary in colour and generally have mottled brown bodies with white bands on antennae, legs and the sides of their abdomen.

This pest prefers trees and plants bearing seeds or fruit, including apples, peaches, raspberries, sweet corn, green beans, capsicums and tomatoes.

If you think you have found a brown marmorated stink bug, catch it in a container and call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, 1800 084 881.

Clear photos can be emailed with a brief explanation of where you found it and your contact details to biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Brown marmorated stink bug was successfully eradicated in NSW in 2018 following the detection of the pest in western Sydney warehouses during the 2017-18 summer season.

Control activities and extensive surveillance activities led to a brown marmorated stink bug-free declaration for NSW in August 2018.

Importation rules for cargo arriving from high-risk locations have been strengthened and increased seasonal surveillance from September to April has been in place since the 2017 detection.

Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881

Media contact: 02 6391 3686