Horticulture New Zealand hosted a workshop to improve industry understanding of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) last Thursday.
Run at the end of the Horticulture Industry Forum in Wellington, KVH were invited to take part along with other industry stakeholders.
The workshop was based on a fictional find of a bug in the Gisborne region and included a simulation, the basis for a response, and how the industry can support a response. There will be a round-up of the key learnings put together for everyone to review but one that was highlighted right from the outset was the importance of getting community support and buy-in from the start.
Groups across the industry – HortNZ, KVH, Pipfruit New Zealand, NZ Wine, and NZ Avocadoes – are working together to develop best practice BMSB risk management expectations and guidelines to support importers and distributors of farm and orchard equipment and supplies from high-risk BMSB countries, such as tractors from Italy.
KVH is also planning a further exercise scenario with Zespri over the coming weeks to ensure there are robust plans in place for quickly getting information to and from growers in the event of a BMSB find.
Communications campaigns to get information out to the public continue to take place. There has been fantastic uptake of the MPI video about BMSB featuring Ruud, the bug man (watch below). In just over a month the video has been viewed on Facebook more than 160 thousand times and has reached just over 330,000 people through their Facebook pages – if you haven’t already viewed or shared it with colleagues, family and friends please do.
Two further videos were also developed last week targeting travellers and those who receive mail. These are quick, short animated videos encouraging and reminding people to check their bags and parcels. Released over the weekend they are already proving popular and help to spread the message about being on the lookout for this serious threat.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said on Wednesday that various activities – like the ones above – to prevent the establishment of BMSB have ramped up over summer and helped raise public awareness of this serious threat.
“Work underway includes detector dog training, research on the effectiveness of lures, obtaining approval for chemical sprays and public awareness advertising and campaigns.”
“There is also mandatory treatments of vehicle and machinery pathways, and targeted verification inspections on sea containers. MPI will soon be visiting European exporters of high risk cargo and working with them to mitigate these risks.”
KVH continues to work closely with MPI as part of the GIA on biosecurity and in the last Bulletin published an update (including data) on all pre-border, border and post-border interventions to manage BMSB risk.