Hitchhiker pests

Vessels arriving to New Zealand should be free of pests, insects, and animals that may become a nuisance, cause harm in New Zealand, or carry disease.

Keep your vessel pest-free

Hitchhiker insects and animals may happen to board a vessel while it's overseas – sometimes carried on cargo, blown on board in small numbers undetected, or arriving in swarms. If they then find their way to New Zealand they could affect human health or seriously harm New Zealand's economy and unique environment.

Common hitchhiking pests that have been found on ships and yachts on arrival include:

  • ants and termites
  • some types of beetles that gather together
  • moths that are attracted to ships' lights to lay their eggs on structures
  • mosquitoes
  • wasps and bees.

Fact sheets about hitchhiking pests are available:

Two pests of major concern

Asian gypsy moth and brown marmorated stink bugs are serious pests and special management procedures are in place to prevent their spread to New Zealand.

Asian gypsy moth

From 1 February 2018, an arriving vessel will be considered a high risk for Asian gypsy moth (AGM) if in the previous 12 months it has visited any of the risk areas during the specified risk periods in Table 1 (sourced from the NAPPO AGM regulations) and requires a Certificate of Freedom of AGM.


Table 1. Asian gypsy moth risk areas and risk periods 2017
(Vessels have risk of AGM if, in the last 12 months, visited during corresponding risk period)
Country Risk Area Specified Risk Period
Russian Far East South of 60o North and west of 147o longitude (excluding those ports on the Kamchatka Peninsula) July 1 to September 30
China North of latitude of 31o 15' N June 1 to September 30
Republic of Korea In all areas June 1 to September 30
Japan – Northern In prefectures of Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima July 1 to September 30
Japan Western In prefectures of Akita, Yamagata, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa June 25 to September 15
Japan - Eastern In prefectures of Fukui, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie June 20 to August 20
Japan - Southern In prefectures of Wakayama, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Tokushima, Ehime, Kochi, Fukuoka, Oita, Saga, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima June 1 to August 10
Japan - Far Southern In prefecture of Okinawa May 25 to June 30

Certificates of Freedom

If the vessel is high risk and does not have a Certificate of Freedom from a recognised inspection body, a high-level inspection may be required at a specific port as determined by MPI or potentially 4 nautical miles offshore at an agreed location if the risk is very high.

Certificates of Freedom will avoid undue delays on your arrival in New Zealand. If you wish to obtain certification from any of the listed countries, use one of the approved (recognised) inspection bodies.

The Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Vessels came into force on 1 February 2018.

Brown marmorated stink bugs

This insect is a serious pest of crops and nuisance to people. It has been found arriving at the New Zealand border on cargo and vessels from the United States. Crews should look out for the bug and report any sightings.

New and used cars, trucks, machinery, boats and parts imported from the United States must be treated by one of 3 methods before being shipped to New Zealand.

Find out more

Who to contact

  • If you have questions about the information on this page, email vessels@mpi.govt.nz
  • To report an exotic pest or disease call 0800 80 99 66.
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