Ship found crawling with exotic beetles at Wellington port
Ship found crawling with exotic beetles at Wellington
Biosecurity officials discovered an infestation
of plague soldier beetles on a vessel arriving at the
Wellington port this week from Australia.
Brisbane had been targeted for full inspection upon arrival
by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) after a recent
spate of live beetle finds on vessels arriving from
“The vessel underwent a full inspection. It
was found to be literally crawling with hundreds of
beetles,” says MPI’s Geoff Gwyn.
“The early warning
shows our intelligence and surveillance system is working
well and we are targeting vessels and cargo that have the
highest risk,” says Mr Gwyn.
The vessel’s operations
were halted while the beetles were treated. Biosecurity
staff also checked the berth and surrounding area for
beetles. And port staff have been instructed to keep a look
out for the pest.
MPI is investigating to determine
whether there have been any breaches of the Biosecurity Act
1993. If so, charges may be laid.
Plague soldier beetles
(Chauliognathus lugubris) may be harmful to native New
Zealand insects. They are also a potential carrier of
diseases and other pests.
The insect’s common name of
plague soldier beetle is due to its habit of forming huge
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