​Media Release

Upping the ante against stink bug bandits

11 February 2018

  • Beefed-up measures to safeguard Australia from brown marmorated stink bug (stink bug)
  • Increased inspections at the border to detect stink bugs on cargo from USA and Italy
  • Stink bugs are a huge threat to agriculture and the environment, feeding on over 300 different plant species

​Australia is upping the ante against one of our most significant pests, the stink bug, after a spike in detections on cargo from the USA and Italy.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the Coalition Government had increased inspections and treatment at the border to protect Australian horticulture growers from the pesky intruder.

"The Coalition knows biosecurity is critical to Australia's ongoing prosperity and to protect agricultural industries, the powerhouse of the Australian economy," Minister Littleproud said.

"The stink bugs are a huge threat to Australian agriculture because they eat everything, including vegetable crops and fruit and ornamental trees, they're not picky.

"The pest has been known to smuggle itself into the country on anything from cars and trucks to deck chairs or cases of balsamic vinegar.

"Between September and April each year is the stink bug's favourite time to travel.

"During that period cargo coming from high-risk countries, including Italy and the USA, must be treated either offshore or on arrival and undergo inspection.

"Goods shipped from Italy between January and April that have not undergone pre-shipment treatment must be treated on arrival in Australia."

The Coalition first introduced emergency biosecurity measures for the stink bug in 2014.

An adult brown marmorated stink bug is the size of a five cent piece, gives off an unpleasant smell and is a mottled brown colour with light and dark patches.

An additional $300 million over four years has been invested to strengthen the biosecurity through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, including boosting our capacity to manage pests, diseases and weeds.​

The total expenditure for biosecurity this financial year is $744.3 million—an increase of $140.9 million or 23.4 per cent since 2012-13.

For information on how to identify brown marmorated stink bugs, visit agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/plant/brown-marmorated-stink-bug