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A major crisis of the brown stink-buggy kind sees several vessels turned back to sea in a holding pattern after Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) were discovered lurking on board and in vehicles on those shipments.
The BMSB is a pest that could destroy New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable industries, including the lucrative kiwi fruit industry. It also infests homes, ruins gardens (and of course stinks when crushed…). Diabolical.
This is quite a rare event and is the most serious quarantine event of it’s kind in NZ for many years. The NZ Motor Industry Association is expecting significant disruption to vehicle stock levels and is asking for patience from customers.
The use of agitation sprays as part of the inspection process is being considered by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and inspection organisations to avoid further cars carrying stink bugs from arriving in New Zealand.
Most used vehicles set for export to New Zealand from Japan are cleaned and inspected by commercial agents working to an MPI prescribed process and standard.
While this usually identifies biosecurity hazards from the vehicles, MPI has noted the current climate in Japan makes the bugs hide in a way near impossible to spot visually. Agitation sprays and heat treatment are being investigated as possible solutions.
Vessels to Australia are so far unaffected, and we hope the NZ issue will raise pre-inspections for the bugs on the Japan side which should prevent the same problem here.