Cargo ship carrying thousands of cars and heavy machinery is turned away from Australia due to ‘tiny but devastating’ brown stink bugs
- Cargo ship carrying thousands of cars refused entry due to stink bugs
- Insects hide in equipment during winter months, known to stow away on ships
- High priority pest would devastate Australia’s food crops, nurseries and plants
A cargo ship infested by stink bugs has been refused entry into Australia, Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie says.
The ship carrying more than 3500 cars and heavy machinery was found to have some ‘tiny but devastating’ brown marmorated stink bugs.
‘The current risk aboard the cargo vessel was deemed too great to allow the ship to dock in Australia,’ Senator McKenzie said in a statement.
The minister said the insects would decimate Australia’s agricultural crops and horticulture if they were allowed to establish here.
‘Just as concerning is the impact these bugs can have on all of us,’ she said.
‘They are a real headache for residents, creeping into homes when the weather gets cooler, letting off an unpleasant smell and they’re hard to kill.’
She said the pests found their way into the United States in the late 1990s and are now widely established.
A cargo ship has been turned away despite carrying thousands of cars due to quarantine concerns over a species of stink bug that could devastate Australia’s crops (stock image)
The brown marmorated stink bug looks similar to other bugs but you can spot the difference
They are also spreading across Europe and are now in places like Italy, Greece, Georgia and Romania.
In the worst affected regions farmers have lost more than 90 per cent of their crop.
‘In Australia that could equate to losses of more than $20 billion nation-wide,’ she said.
Brown marmorated stink bug facts
– High priority pest native to east Asia, rapidly spreading through the world
– Established in China, Europe and the USA
– feeds on more than 300 types of vegetable crops, fruit and ornamental trees such as nuts, grains, berries, cotton and citrus.
– Adults are mottled brown in colour
– Babies, or nymphs, are orange and black when they first hatch
– Known to hide in cargo coming out of the northern hemisphere between September and April
– Department of Agriculture wants you to call them if you spot one
– If you see one, catch it, put it in a secure container, take a clear picture of it and call the exotic plant and pest hotline on 1800 084 881.
Source: Department of Agriculture pest outbreak website
If you see one of these brown marmorated stink bugs call the pest hotline on 1800 084 881