Winter Campaign to Help Raise Awareness of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

Biosecurity New Zealand has just launched its winter campaign to help raise awareness of a particularly unwanted pest – the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). 

“BMSB poses a major threat to New Zealand’s horticulture industry, with the potential to cost the country nearly $4 billion if it is established here,” says Biosecurity New Zealand’s manager of readiness, Dr Cath Duthie. 

“There is always the chance the unwanted pest could arrive in parcels and with other imported items. We very much want the public to help us with our surveillance efforts.” 

The BMSB winter campaign focuses on showing people how to correctly identify BMSB and report it. BMSB looks like some other bug species but has elements that make it identifiable, including white stripes or banding on its antennae and abdomen. The bug is about the same size as a 10-cent coin. 

Dr Duthie says Biosecurity New Zealand asks anyone who thinks they’ve found BMSB to catch it, snap it (take a photo), and report it. BMSB can be reported by our:

  • Online Reporting Tool 
  • Free Phone – 0800 80 90 99 66 

BMSB can be caught under a glass or in a container. 

“Winter is the time when BMSB is most likely to be found in enclosed spaces and indoors – this can cause problems for homeowners. As summer comes, any BMSB is more likely to be found outdoors, for example in gardens.”

Dr Duthie says the number of live interceptions has dropped considerably over the last 3 years. 

“This is largely due to the introduction of import rules that make it harder for BMSB to enter New Zealand on risky cargo such as vehicles, machinery, and parts from countries with established stink bug populations. Such cargo must be treated before arriving in New Zealand during the BMSB season.” 

“Biosecurity New Zealand further tightened its border controls during the just-completed season. This included introducing targeted alerts on additional goods associated with BMSB detections. Consignments covered by the alerts underwent full inspection to rule out the presence of live bugs.” 

“The fact we have no established BMSB populations suggests that the current biosecurity approach is working well. However, the risk of incursion is never zero, which is why we all must play our part in keeping an eye out,” says Dr Duthie. 

To find out more about BMSB, how to report sightings, and how it could threaten New Zealand, head here: