KVH is so grateful for the vigilance of the members of the public who identified pests and alerted MPI. We have also had a Gisborne kiwifruit grower send through photographs of some suspicious-looking nymphs this week. Thankfully, we were able to identify these as the New Zealand native Pittosporum Shield Bug. It is great to have the support of the public in keeping these problematic pests out of New Zealand.
KVH, MPI and other GIA signatories are working on a number of initiatives to reduce the risk of BMSB including:
- Readiness and Response arrangements under GIA – establishing what we need to do to prepare for this threat, how we respond and how we share costs.
- Research efforts to mitigate risk and impact - KVH is a member of the MPI/Industry research group that oversees R&D focus and priorities. Three priorities are developing effective traps and pheromones, ACVM approval of effective sprays and assessing biological control options. One of these biological control options is promising and we aim to have pre-emptive approval for release later this year, meaning that if BMSB were to establish we would have a control tool at our disposal.
- Working with importers - KVH is visiting importers of machinery such as graders, mulchers and tractors, to ensure staff are aware of biosecurity hygiene and what pests to keep an eye out for.
- Communications to increase the likelihood of early detection – KVH is co-funding a BMSB communications campaign with MPI and other GIA partners, to raise public awareness and increase the likelihood of early detection through passive surveillance. The campaign includes digital and print advertising deployed through a number of channels targeting potential pathway entries for BMSB. This includes passenger (e-ticket advertising, and signage at Auckland International Airport), mail (advertising targeting overseas shopping on eBay and NZ Post) and industry partners, magazines and journals. KVH is strengthening awareness within the kiwifruit industry, associated industries such as the Port of Tauranga and the freight and logistics sector, and with members of the public. This includes school and polytechnic presentations visits utilising our display specimens, Bulletin & Kiwifruit Journal articles, fridge magnets, calendars, wall planners, and presentations at Zespri Roadshows (updates included at upcoming Roadshows next week).
Growers are a key line of defence – you are best-placed to spot invaders early on. Please keep an eye out for any unusual pests and call us on 0800 665 825 or send us photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org
if you find anything of concern. An updated fact sheet on BMSB can be found on the KVH website