Brown marmorated stink bug
MPI needs your help to keep watch for the brown marmorated stink bug, which could attack a wide range of New Zealand crops and infest local homes.
The brown marmorated stink bug has spread to the United States and Europe from Asia. It's not established in New Zealand but it's a sneaky pest that we've caught at the border many times, hitchhiking on passengers and in imported goods.
So far we've managed to stop it settling here, but we need your help. They're hard to see, hard to kill, travel far and they breed fast.
Risk to New Zealand
These bugs could be a damaging economic pest and a significant household nuisance.
Crops and gardens could be devastated
Known to feed heavily on a wide variety of plant species, stink bugs would attack grapes, kiwifruit, apples, citrus and stone fruit, corn and many other valuable crops.
Homes could be infested
Over winter, bugs gather in large numbers in homes, where they're an unsightly and smelly nuisance. They can't be easily treated with insecticides and they emit a pungent odour when squashed, making them hard to remove.
Video – Brown marmorated stink bug (0.30)
This video explains what you should do when you find a brown marmorated stink bug in your home, because in the winter, that’s where they end up.
Eww the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.
Look at it.
Imagine thousands of them in your home!
Because in the winter, that’s where they end up.
Your. Nice. Warm. Home.
Oh and by the way, when they’re crushed, they stink like sweaty socks!
They’re not in New Zealand yet, and we really want to keep them out of the country and out of your home.
So if you find one, don’t kill it. Catch it, take a photo and call 0800 80 99 66.
Where in New Zealand?
Brown marmorated stink bugs thrive in cool climates, making them a threat up and down the country.
What's being done?
MPI has developed new import regulations to provide extra protection against this bug.
- Vehicles and machinery from the USA and Italy must now be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide before coming to New Zealand
- New import standards are being developed for all vehicles, machinery and tyres from all countries
Ready to respond
Brown marmorated stink bugs spread fast, so we'll need to act quickly to get rid of them if they arrive. That can only happen if we spot an invasion as soon as possible. MPI is encouraging all New Zealanders to be on the lookout.
- City horticulturists and gardeners have been asked to keep watch because bugs that come through airports or seaports would attack their crops first.
- Travellers are reminded to check their luggage on return to New Zealand to make sure they haven't brought the bug with them.
- People importing goods from overseas – including internet shoppers – are also encouraged to check their packages.
MPI is running advertisements and distributing leaflets with pictures of the bug to help home gardeners and the wider public identify it. Everyone is urged to call our pest-and-diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66 if they see anything like it.
What you can do
Keep watch for these bugs. If you think you’ve found one – catch it and call us immediately on 0800 80 99 66.
What does it look like?
Adults are about the size of a $1 coin and have:
- white banding on the antennae
- alternate black and white markings on the abdomen
- eggs that are light green, barrel shaped, and found in clusters of 20-30.
Our factsheet will help you identify the bug and differentiate it from similar local species.
Download MPI's brown marmorated stink bug fact sheet [PDF, 1.6 MB]
Identify and compare similar-looking local species
MPI and Landcare Research have developed an online tool to help identify the brown marmorated stink bug and other Pentatomidaes (the family stink bugs belong to).
We're making improvements to our feedback form and it's temporarily unavailable.
For urgent problems, call 0800 00 83 33 (NZ only)