Brown marmorated stink bugs questions and answers

​​​​Below is a list of questions and answers. Further questions will be added if necessary. Please check regularly for the most up to date information. See bottom of page for last reviewed date.

About the pest

Why is this particular stink bug such a problem?

This stink bug does not occur in Australia and is a pest of considerable biosecurity concern. It is highly invasive and a voracious feeder with an extensive host range (about 300 known plants including fruit, vegetables and ornamentals). Juveniles and adults feed on, and severely damage, fruit and vegetable crops. The bug is not a risk to human health but is regarded as a nuisance pest because of its habit of seeking shelter in vehicles, homes and factories in large numbers over the winter period. Information on the stink bug has been published previously on the department's website.

About the measures for the 2017-18 season

What is happening?

The department has revised the measures to manage the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) based on current understanding of the pest’s biology, and interception data and learning from last season’s measures.

The 2017-18 measures will continue to target vehicles, vessels, machinery and parts from the United States and will now include Italy from 1 September 2017 to 30 April 2018 inclusive. These measures apply in addition to standard import requirements.

  • From 1 September 2017, all used goods in the target tariffs shipped break bulk must be treated for potential stink bug infestations.
  • From 1 September 2017 to 30 April 2018, all used goods in the target tariffs shipped FCL/FCX must be clean and treated for potential stink bug infestations. Treatment can be done any time prior to departure as long as the container is sealed immediately afterwards and arrives in Australia seals intact.
  • All new goods in the target tariffs manufactured and/or stored between 1 September and 1 December 2017 and then shipped on or before 30 April 2018 must undergo offshore treatment unless subject to alternative safeguarding arrangements approved by the department (see Alternative arrangements—safeguarding below). This applies to goods shipped break bulk or FCL/FCX.
  • All new goods in the target tariffs manufactured after 1 December 2017 and shipped as break bulk or FCL/FCX on or before 30 April 2018 require a consignment specific manufacturer’s new, unused and not field tested (NUFT) declaration which includes the date and place of manufacture.
    NB A good is only considered to be newly manufactured after 1 December if all its large, complex components have also been manufactured after 1 December.
  • Break bulk goods treated before 1 December must be treated in the 96 hours prior to export. This means that the goods must complete treatment no more than 96 hours prior to the shipped on board date. The shipped on board date is listed on the bill of lading, which must be presented to the department on the goods’ arrival.
  • Italian Break bulk goods that originate from the Port of Zeebrugge must be treated within 120 hours of export.  

NB The department considers goods transported on flat rack containers to be break bulk cargo.

Should pest infestations be intercepted in cargo in the coming season, the department may impose similar emergency requirements to the 2014-15 season.

What has changed since last season?

The 2017-18 measures are largely the same as the 2016-17 measures, with season dates, treatments, and requirements for management of target goods unchanged.

The main change is the addition cargo from Italy which has been added as a country of concern for BMSB infestations. The season measurers that apply to the US will also apply to Italy.

The 2017-18 measures will remain in place for the entire season unless pest infestations are detected. Should this occur, the department may impose emergency requirements similar to those implemented during the 2014-15 season. The department is also monitoring the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs from other parts of the world and will develop measures if required.

What are the treatment requirements?

The treatment conditions are:

  • Sulfuryl fluoride: at least 48g/m3 for 6 hours or longer or at least 16g/m3 for 12 hours or longer both with an end point reading of 50% or more of the initial concentration and conducted at a temperature of 10 °C or higher. Please note this temperature is 5 °C lower than the methyl bromide conditions below.
  • Methyl bromide: at least 16g/m3 for 12 hours or longer with an end point reading of 50% or more of the initial concentration and conducted at a temperature of 15 °C or higher. Please note this temperature is 5 °C higher than the sulfuryl fluoride conditions above. Or a rate of at least 32 g/m³ at 21 °C for a minimum of 24 hours with a 30% retention.
  • Heat: 50 °C or greater for at least 20 minutes in the coldest location in the vehicle.

Break bulk goods treated before 1 December must complete treatment no more than 96 hours prior to the shipped on board date. The shipped on board date is listed on the bill of lading, which must be presented to the department on the goods’ arrival.

Break bulk goods treated after 1 December are unlikely to become re-infested, so are not subject to this requirement.

Containerised goods can be treated any time before shipment, provided the 6-sided container is sealed immediately.

Goods transported in open or flat-rack containers must be treated as per the break bulk requirements.

Why are LCL goods exempt?

The department’s analysis of the volumes of goods impacted by the BMSB measures confirms that the risk with LCLs is much less for infestations of this pest. A high percentage of these are used cars or parts. Used cars are already subject to full inspection at an Approved Arrangement site and containerised parts are usually lower risk. On this basis, the department is continuing to exempt LCL goods from the measures at this stage.

What about cargo loaded on flat rack containers?

The department manages cargo loaded on flat racks as break bulk cargo.

Do these measures apply to air freight?

Not at this time.

How are tariffs selected for inclusion in the measures for the 2017-18 BMSB season?

The department’s interception data shows that large, complex goods (target goods) from USA and Italy are the primary pathways for BMSB infestations detected at the border at this time.  Based on information considered from the last season the target goods from the previous season will again be subject to the heightened measures in the 2017-18 BMSB season.

How are lower risk goods being exempted from broad tariffs?

Wherever lower risk goods can be exempted from the measures using tariff codes, they are.

However, tariffs do not always provide sufficient information on the type of good being imported to do so, and this is why lower risk goods have often been captured in the past. For example, buoys, jet skis and paddleboards have been captured on the same tariffs as boats.

The department will be using Community Protection (CP) questions to exempt lower risk goods.

Are there likely to be any further changes to the target tariffs this season?

The department is monitoring detections of BMSB and will revise the measures as required.

Why are only goods imported from the United States and Italy being targeted?

The department’s interception data shows that new and used vehicles, machinery and parts from the United States and Italy are the primary pathways for BMSB infestations detected at the border at this time.

Although the department has been intercepting BMSB on goods from Asia during the last decade, these have been only occasional hitchhiking specimens. A few hitchhiking BMSB in later life stages are less of a risk as they are less likely to establish on arrival in Australia given they tend to desiccate during the voyage without the protection of diapause (a form of overwintering).

The department has detected BMSB on goods from other parts of Europe the last two seasons. The department is monitoring BMSB populations in Europe and tracks all BMSB detections for evidence of emerging trends.

While the measures for next BMSB season apply only to target goods from the US and Italy, the department is conducting heightened surveillance on all goods arriving form areas which pose a potential risk of BMSB importation to Australia. The department may introduce measures for other pathways if emerging information indicates that this is warranted.

Why has Italy been included in the season measures?

Over past BMSB seasons we have been collecting data on other countries in the northern hemisphere. We have determined that substantial BMSB populations are present in Italy, and detections at the border indicate an active risk of importation of the pest into Australia on this pathway.  As a result, measures need to be applied to target goods from Italy.    

Why do goods exported from the Port of Zeebrugge have a 120 hour treatment to export window?

The department has now extended the post BMSB treatment window for Italian break bulk goods treated before 1 December 2017 from 96 hours to 120 hours where the goods are shipped through the Belgium Port of Zeebrugge.  The lack of reported BMSB populations in Belgium reduces the risk of post treatment contamination from a local source around the port, however, the residual risk must still be managed by segregating treated and untreated goods prior to shipment.  The extension to 120 hours also assists in aligning Australia’s and New Zealand’s requirements for this type of cargo.

The department would consider similar arrangements for goods shipped from other non-Italian European ports, where the BMSB risk at that port is low and similar segregation arrangements are or can be put in place.

As BMSB is present in higher levels in many areas of the United States, the 96 hour window will remain for US at-risk goods although this may be reviewed in the future. 

The post treatment window for break bulk ceases after 1 December as the goods are unlikely to become re infested.  There is no similar window for containerised goods that are sealed in the container immediately after treatment.

Why has a secondary treatment condition for methyl bromide been included in this season’s measures?

The department has considered evidence presented in relation to an alternative treatment rate for methyl bromide, which was utilised by some treatment providers in previous seasons and achieved a reasonable level of risk mitigation. As a result, the current treatment of target goods with methyl bromide is approved by the department at either:

  • at least 16g/m3 for 12 hours or longer with an end point reading of 50% or more of the initial concentration and conducted at a temperature of 15 °C or higher. Please note this temperature is 5 °C higher than the sulfuryl fluoride conditions above.
  • Or a rate of at least 32 g/m³ at 21 °C for a minimum of 24 hours with an end point reading of 30% or more of the initial concentration.

What if I don't have my target goods treated offshore?

It is the department’s expectation that pre-shipment treatment will be completed when required. If targeted break bulk and containerised cargo arrives in Australia with no treatment, it will be directed for treatment here. For break bulk goods, the treatment must be implemented within 48 hours of discharge at an Australian port. Containerised cargo that arrives with seals intact can be moved to an Approved Arrangement site and treated when facilities become available provided the seals remain intact. In such cases, the container can be treated as a whole without the need for a full unpack inspection.

Importers should be aware that treatment on arrival in Australia may not be possible at the port of arrival or subsequent ports. Should large volumes of cargo arrive untreated, this is likely to cause logistical issues which may result in wharf congestion and additional storage or demurrage costs.

Do goods that have not been pre-treated offshore still need to be fully unpacked/inspected on arrival?

The following applies for target goods that arrive that have neither been pre-treated offshore nor have an approved safeguarding arrangement:

  • New and used goods will be immediately directed for mandatory BMSB treatment on shore on arrival, providing the identified risk is acceptably low.
  • Break bulk goods must be treated within 48 hours.
  • Used goods will be subject to a full unpack inspection following treatment to ensure that all other biosecurity risks have been managed.

What about goods manufactured in other countries that are transported by road or rail to US or Italian ports?

These goods are subject to the measures as there is opportunity for the goods to be infested with BMSB in the US or Italy, particularly if the goods are stockpiled at any point.

What about goods manufactured in and shipped from the US or Italy that tranship through other ports?

The measures apply to all target goods originating in the US or Italy during BMSB season. This includes goods that may subsequently be loaded/transhipped to Australia via ports in other countries such as Japan, Mexico or Canada for goods originating in the US, or through other countries in Europe for goods originating in Italy.

What about goods manufactured in other countries being transhipped through US or Italian ports?

Goods manufactured and loaded onto a vessel outside of the US or Italy then transhipped through a US or Italian port will not be impacted by these heightened measures. However, if the department cannot identify these goods as transhipments on arrival then they will be regarded as being of US or Italian origin/manufacture and managed accordingly.

What if there is a delay at the port and goods that should have been shipped prior to 1 September are shipped at a later date?

The onus is on the importer to provide sufficient documentation to the department to show that the goods were in fact delivered for shipment before the start date of 1 September 2017.

About the required documentation

What type of treatment certification is required?

The department will accept a certificate from a fumigation company. The treatment certificate must:

  • identify the cargo treated and include a unique identifiable link to the consignment
  • specify the date of BMSB treatment, the type of treatment, and the timeframe
  • specify the end point reading for methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride treatments
  • include a plastic wrap declaration.

The department’s documentary requirements policy is outlined in the departmental website, where acceptable document templates can also be found.

Where certificates should be sent?

All documentation, including pre-shipment treatment certificates, can now be submitted to the department via the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS).

What documentation shows when the goods have been shipped?

Bills of lading must include the shipped on board date. The department uses the shipped on board date on the bill of lading as the date shipped from the US or Italy, thus determining whether target goods are subject to the seasonal measures.

What other documentation is required for new goods manufactured after 1 December 2017?

New goods manufactured after 1 December 2017 and shipped before 30 April 2018 will not require mandatory offshore treatment. A good is only considered to be manufactured after 1 December if all its large, complex components have also been manufactured after 1 December.

Unless these goods are subject to a safeguarding arrangement, a declaration will need to be provided about the date and place of manufacture. The declaration can be provided on the standard new and unused and not field tested (NUFT) declaration. The NUFT should clearly state that the goods are subject to the BMSB season requirements and include the date and place of manufacture for all goods in the consignment, unless the goods are subject to approved safeguarding arrangements.

The department will direct these goods for treatment on arrival if the NUFT does not clearly identify the date of manufacture.

Refer to the department’s minimum documentary requirements policy for further information on documentation requirements.

What happens if the broker/importer does not lodge documents on time?

It is not the responsibility of the department to chase the lodgment of documents. If the required documents are not submitted in time or are incomplete, the goods will be regarded as untreated and directed for treatment onshore. Break bulk goods that cannot be verified as treated within 48 hours of discharge may be directed for export. It is therefore recommended that documents be lodged correctly, and at least 48 hours prior to vessel arrival.

About safeguarding

What is a safeguarding system for new goods?

Safeguarding is a more detailed pest risk management plan/system that can be implemented by manufacturers offshore as an alternative to the mandatory pre-shipment requirements. A safeguarding arrangement does not override other import conditions for the goods.

Manufacturers/importers will need to provide the department with evidence of alternative risk management measures that will safeguard their goods from BMSB infestation during the manufacture and storage process, and ensure that their goods arrive in Australia free from contamination and infestations from other risks of biosecurity concern.

Once a proposal is received from a manufacturer/importer with relevant supporting information (such as photographs, pest system certification and reports, assembly line plans and entry points, storage area maps ), the department will undertake a desk audit of the outlined system and advise the manufacturer of any further information or measures necessary. Once the department is satisfied that the system will mitigate this BMSB risk offshore, any additional intervention by the department on shore for this pest and other pests will be rolled back to minimal levels.

Approval of a safeguarding system will apply to all new goods from that source shipped from the date of approval to 30 April 2018. Manufacturers declarations for individual cargo covered under the safeguarding system will not need to detail the date and place of manufacture once the system is in place. However, if there is an infestation discovered in the goods, emergency measures will be implemented and the safeguarding approval rescinded.

Details of manufacturers and their goods that have been accepted under the safeguarding system will be published on the department’s web site. This will provide some surety to industry including carriers (transport companies, shipping lines, stevedores ) that the goods in question represent a lower risk of infestation with this pest and should be permitted to be discharged to the wharf of arrival, unless there is an identified emerging biosecurity threat at that time.

Details on Safeguarding requirements, eligibility, responsibilities and how to apply are available on the department’s website or by contacting Air and Sea Cargo.

Other actions industry can take to stop BMSB

What do I do if I notice insects on goods?

The sooner the department knows about any suspect bugs, the better able it will be able to manage the risk. The Biosecurity Act 2015 requires persons in charge of goods that are subject to biosecurity control to notify the department of reportable biosecurity incidents such as live pests. If you notice insects on imported goods, report them either:

See Reportable biosecurity incidents on the department’s website for more information.

Can BMSB from untreated goods contaminate treated goods?

Yes. It is advisable to keep treated and untreated break bulk goods physically segregated both on wharf prior to loading and on vessel. This will help avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

Is there a way to monitor for this pest during the shipping process?

Yes.  Light traps have been effective in previous seasons in capturing BMSB on-board break bulk vessels, and facilitate early notification and proactive response to the pest.  Manufacturers, importers and shipping line operators are encouraged to operate traps at manufacturing and storage facilities, load ports and on board shipping vessels to monitor for the presence of the pest.

About costs

Costs

All charges for the department’s services in documentary processing, risk assessments and inspections will be directed to the owner/importer of the goods automatically, using existing entry management processes for all imported goods. This will be revised only if a new infestation of viable stink bugs is detected on board a vessel prior to goods discharge to the wharf.

What about charges for the assessment of safeguarding arrangements?

The department has decided to waive assessment and processing fees for safeguarding arrangements for this BMSB season. This could change if the department is inundated with requests and has to chase manufacturers/importers for more details of the safeguarding proposal.

More information

If you have further questions regarding these measures, please email Air and Sea Cargo or contact your local departmental regional office.

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