Stink bug poses major threat to NZ's fruit industry sparking call for extra vigilance

A kiwifruit biosecurity organisation is urging extra vigilance this spring for an invasive insect posing a major threat to New Zealand's fruit industry.

The brown marmorated stink bug has wreaked havoc in Europe and a border breach in this country could be catastrophic.

The Asian native has spread to 14 countries across Europe and in the US. It breeds fast, damages crops and also infests homes.

While not established in New Zealand, 147 of the bugs were intercepted last season and the pest poses a risk to many different species.

"It eats about 300 different plant species, so our native plants as well as our productive plants," said Barry O'Neil, Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive.

If an outbreak were to occur here, harvests would be hammered and growers also left facing big eradication jobs.

Kiwifruit Vine Heath says people can help by following three simple steps. If you happen to stumble across the brown marmorated stink bug catch it, snap it on camera, and it report it to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

"We're talking billions of dollars. So stink bug has the potential to be a really significant horticultural pest. There's probably not a single thing grown in New Zealand for sale that it would not affect," said Catherine Duthie of MPI.

The ministry says it has stringent measures in place, including a sniffer dog to find a stinky bug that could leave more than a bad smell in the air.

The invasive insect wreaked in Europe and a border breach could be catastrophic. Source: 1 NEWS