The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, is an exotic pest of biosecurity concern for Australia and New Zealand. BMSB has a history of successful expansion from its native range in East Asia into North America and Europe. Prior to 2014, Australia’s quarantine service had occasionally intercepted live BMSB adults at the border as hitchhikers on various goods, which were always directed for onshore treatment to manage this biosecurity risk. In December 2014, the number and size of BMSB detections on goods arriving from the United States increased substantially. For the first time, incidents consisting of very large numbers of live BMSB were intercepted, particularly on vehicles and machinery. To ensure that the biosecurity risk continued to be appropriately managed, emergency measures were implemented requiring these types of goods to be treated prior to loading in the United States.
Key aspects of the biology of BMSB, its changing pest status overseas, and the history of interceptions have allowed the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to develop a targeted approach to manage the risk of BMSB arriving on goods. This includes implementing a seasonal window during which offshore measures are required, and heightened surveillance to monitor these and other pathways that may be at risk of BMSB.