MPI working with industry on response to beetle arrival

Media contact: MPI media phone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is working with the horticultural industry to address any potential biosecurity threat from an incursion of bamboo longhorn beetles.

The response was initiated after reports of beetles inside bamboo canes were received by MPI. It is thought that the bamboo canes, to be used as garden stakes, were part of shipment that arrived from China in December last year.

Bamboo longhorn beetles are post-harvest pests of bamboo. The larvae feed on dry bamboo stems and harvested canes and stakes and are not likely to cause damage to other plants or plant products in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s import health standard (IHS) requirements for bamboo products require that all commercial consignments of bamboo are fumigated with methyl bromide before being given clearance to enter New Zealand.

MPI response Manager Edwin Massey says work is underway to determine how these beetles made it through the border. “It is clear that these beetles originated overseas and we don’t want them establishing in New Zealand. One of the key response objectives is to mitigate the biosecurity risk by locating and destroying as many of the beetles as possible - this work is currently underway”

“Given the number of beetles found, it has become evident that the methyl bromide fumigation applied prior to export has failed to achieve the required protection.”

New Zealand has a world strong biosecurity system that begins offshore before the border, and ends after it with surveillance, readiness activities and occasional responses to pest and disease arrivals. “We are an island trading nation and no country can stop everything. That’s why we have a multilayered biosecurity system”

If you think you have seen any of these beetles, contact MPI immediately on 0800 80 99 66.

If possible, capture individual insects and secure them in a sealed container (with air holes). A photograph would be useful, as would details of location, particularly GPS co-ordinates.

Further information on how to identify the bamboo longhorn beetle is available here    

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