Stinky stowaways found lurking in NSW luggage


The Government is asking travellers, arriving in NSW from Europe or Asia, to check their luggage for brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys.

The smelly pest was recently detected in a NSW home, after a traveller who had arrived from Asia put the stink bug in a jar and froze it, before calling the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Confirmed as a brown marmorated stink bug by DPI scientists, further investigations detected another stink bug hidden in the pocket of a pair of pants from the luggage.

DPI is undertaking ongoing surveillance to ensure no stink bugs have escaped or established outside the house.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are known to stow away in cargo from the northern hemisphere from September to April.

The pest hibernates in winter and detection now in summer is crucial.

Feeding on more than 300 plant species, it would be extremely difficult and expensive to manage if allowed to establish in Australia as it is not easily controlled with pesticides.

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, but generally have mottled brown bodies with white bands on antennae, legs and the sides of their abdomen.

This stink bug feeds on fruiting plants, including ornamentals and vegetables. Its preferred plants include apples, peaches, raspberries, sweet corn, green beans, capsicums and tomatoes.

In August 2018, brown marmorated stink bug was successfully eradicated in NSW following the detection of the pest in western Sydney warehouses in the 2017-18 summer.

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.

Find out more about the brown marmorated stink bug

Minister for Agriculture, Regional and Western NSW, Tara Moriarty said:

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