FRUIT

WA’s school holiday bug hunt

16 April 2018
Grower News

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has issued a challenge to primary school students in the area to make their own trap, and take photos of bugs caught or seen in and around their homes.

The school whose students send in the most photos of suspect stink bugs will win a ‘Bugs and Amazing Insects Display’ – an insect collection highlighting the good, bad and ugly of the insect world.

Department entomologist Rob Emery said Brown marmorated stink bug was exotic to Australia and posed a risk to a wide range of agricultural crops. “It is also a nuisance pest, seeking shelter during colder weather inside homes or sheds, often in large numbers.

“It was recently found in imported cargo at a warehouse in Jandakot which was treated, and surveillance is continuing in the area to ensure the pest has not spread.”

To support department surveillance efforts, members of the public are encouraged to look for the pest.

“The school holiday competition is a perfect opportunity to get more eyes on the ground by taking advantage of the fascination with insects that most young people have,” he said. “Additionally, people can make their own trap – which is simple, cheap and fun.

“Regular checking of the traps, and looking in and around the home for Brown marmorated stink bug makes for an interesting school holiday activity.”

An instruction flyer has been made available to schools in the surveillance area, and this flyer and how-to-make-a-trap video is also available from: www.agric.wa.gov.au/bmsb.

Reporting is also simple: download the department’s MyPestGuideTM Reporter app from mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au to send in photos of any suspicious bugs, or alternatively e-mail the Pest and Disease Information Service. These details are also listed on the instruction flyer.

Emery reminded bug hunters that it was sometimes hard to distinguish this pest bug from other native stink bugs. “To make your bug hunting easier, a short video and other information is available from our website, which will help you tell the difference between our native stink bugs and Brown marmorated stink bug.

“If you are unsure of your identification, we encourage people to take a photo and send it in, just to be safe.”

What to look for:

  • The Brown marmorated stink bug looks similar to native Australian stink bugs but larger. The black and white markings on its lower back are a distinguishing feature;
  • BMSB are large bugs (12-17mm long) that emit a foul odour when disturbed;
  • They are mottle brown coloured, shield shaped, and have five nymph stages that range from less than 3mm to 12mm long;
  • Look for unusual aggregations of stink bugs in or around buildings;
  • They are attracted to light, and may be found in areas that are well lit at night;
  • Check out local plants. The Brown marmorated stink bug is known to feed on more than 300 hosts, and ornamental trees such as Tree of Heaven, Princess tree, English holly, Magnolia and Chinese pistachio are preferential hosts.

Source: Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development