Management of BMSB

Biosecurity measures for goods entering Australia

Brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) are not yet established in Australia. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) implements enhanced biosecurity measures during the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) season from September to May. Certain goods arriving from target high-risk countries will be subjected to offshore treatment during this period to ensure that the risk of live BMSB arriving in Australia is minimised.

What goods will be subject to offshore treatment?

Goods subject to offshore fumigation during the BMSB season include wood and articles of wood, cork and cork products, glass and glassware, articles of iron or steel, inorganic and organic chemicals, and fertilisers from target risk countries. The list of nearly 40 target risk countries includes France, Italy, Germany and the United States. Most viticultural and winemaking imports from these countries will be classified as high-risk and therefore subject to offshore fumigation treatment.

What fumigants are used? Could residues lead to wine taints?

The BMSB treatments approved by DAWE include sulfuryl fluoride, methyl bromide and heat treatment. When used for fumigation, methyl bromide is highly volatile and is dispersed into the air. Sulfuryl fluoride splits into a metal halide and SO2 and is unlikely to leave any residue. If winery equipment is received from a shipping container that has been fumigated, normal cleaning is recommended, but risks of taint are considered low.

Vineyard control strategies

Insecticides

Broad-spectrum insecticides from the pyrethroid and neonicotinoid classes have been effective in controlling BMSB in the United States (Kuhar 2017). These pesticide regimes are costly and have only been able to reduce stink bug numbers to a level where damage is minimised rather than achieving complete elimination. Broad-spectrum insecticides can disrupt pre-existing integrated pest management systems and their use has resulted in the resurgence of non-target pests (Biddinger 2012, Leskey et. al. 2018).

The AWRI provides up-to-date listings of approved agrochemicals for use in Australia. Note that not all approved agrochemicals are approved for all purposes in all Australian states.

Trapping strategies

Traps are currently being investigated overseas as part of attract-and-kill control strategies and for detection of BSMB, where they can aid a targeted response using other control methods and integrated pest management strategies (Leskey 2020). Traps are most effective near crop boundaries, due to the perimeter feeding behaviour of BMSB. Attract-and-kill trapping of crop perimeter areas reduced the damage inflicted on adjacent areas (Leskey 2018). In orchard situations, trees located closest to black pyramid traps containing a pheromone lure were more affected by BMSB feeding damage, suggesting that bugs were attracted to traps but did not necessarily enter the trap in preference to a surrounding food source. The development of enhanced attractant strategies may increase the effectiveness of attract-and-kill trapping strategies.

Biocontrol agents

No effective biocontrol agent currently exists outside of the BMSB native range of eastern Asia. In the United States, native parasitoid wasp species that lay their eggs inside those of native stink bugs have been investigated for biocontrol potential against BMSB, but have only caused a minimal change in egg mortality rates (Rice et al. 2013). Natural enemy wasp species native to eastern Asia belonging to the Trissolcus genus are also being investigated, as these can account for up to 80% egg mortality in the BMSB native habitat (Talamas et al. 2013).