Shoe buyer shows us the way on biosecurity
Federated Farmers is hailing the actions of an Oamaru man who discovered live stink bugs nesting in shoes he bought on eBay as an example to us all.
On opening the parcel that arrived from overseas and finding the Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSBs), the man immediately took the shoes and wrapping into his bathroom, closed the door and window, and called the Ministry for Primary Industries. The insects were quickly contained, killed and no longer pose a biosecurity threat.
"Questions are being asked how 26 live stink bugs got past our border security measures. It’s very scary stuff for our nation’s growers," Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Karen Williams says.
"But here’s the reality: it’s physically not possible for border security staff to open and check every item of mail, especially in the Christmas rush. As buyers of large quantities of goods from overseas, farmers appreciate the ability to get these in a timely manner. That is the conundrum we face as importers of goods to support our farming businesses and as the ones who are significantly impacted when an incursion occurs.
"There are existing x-ray processes and MPI says it is bringing on new CT scanners and RRT (real time tomography) that should be more effective for detecting insect infestations in mail. Feds supports throwing all resources at getting this new technology operative as soon as possible," Karen says.
But this incursion also underlines the importance of the ‘biosecurity team of 4.7 million New Zealanders’ and the Ko Tatau/This is Us campaigns.
"Everyone - on-line shoppers, importers of equipment and goods, travellers - must be vigilant. The Oamaru resident deserves our thanks, and we all need to follow that example."
A 2017 report from the NZ Institute of Economic Research found that if BMSBs gained a foothold and spread here, it could cost our horticulture and arable industries $4 billion (not taking into account the control measures now being planned, including releasing samurai wasps, a nature predator for BMSBs).
- See here how BMSBs can affect anyone, not just farmers - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/when-twenty-six-thousand-stinkbugs-invade-your-home