Stink Bug Season is Here

August 24, 2016

Seabridge Global Logistics News

STINK BUG season is fast approaching and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has developed measures to manage the seasonal risk of infestations in break bulk and containerised sea cargo shipped from the United States. The measures reinstate mandatory treatment requirements prior to the shipment of goods.


The bugs have a typical ‘shield’ shaped body that is approximately 15mm in length. The bodies of this particular stink bug are mottled brown, with abdominal edges and antennae alternating light and dark bands.


The stink bug causes a great deal of damage due to the wide range of plants that the bug feasts upon. Upwards of 60 plant species, including numerous vegetable crops, fruit trees and ornamental plant species.

Nymphs and adults use piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on leaf and fruit tissue and inject digestive enzymes to facilitate nutrient extraction. This results in localised necrotic spots.

Damage is particularly problematic when the bug is directly feeding on developing fruit. This can lead to severe distortion and in some cases fruit drop.

Stink bugs can also act as contaminants, for example, in grape vine clusters, which fouls juice once infested clusters are pressed and the bugs are crushed.

Finally, the stink bug is a nuisance pest because of its tendency to use homes as overwintering sites. Adults abandon orchards in autumn, frequently moving into nearby artificial structures for shelter. This can lead to dramatic infestations within homes.

Although no direct threat to humans, if disturbed the insects will release a strong, unpleasant odor.


The proposed season dates are the same as for the 2015-16 season. The measures apply to target goods shipped from all ports in the United States from 1 September to 30 April inclusive, and 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 applied in the 2014-15 season.



As per last season, new and used vehicles, vessels and machinery will continue to be the primary target. However, large, complex goods that can harbour BMSB infestations will be under greater focus, while lower risk goods are exempt. Some changes are a direct response to information derived from the 2015-16 response, while others are enabled by new systems functionality.

The main changes of the 2016-17 season are:


  • Break bulk machinery parts
  • Machinery from additional tariffs


  • Lower risk goods such as small all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, canoes and buoys.

Break bulk

From 1 September 2016

  • Used goods – that are in the target tariffs and shipped as break bulk must be treated for potential stink bug infestations prior to shipment on or before 30 April 2017.
  • New goods – that are in the target tariffs and are manufactured and/or stored between 1 September 2016 and 1 December 2016 and shipped as break bulk on or before 30 April 2017 must undergo offshore treatment, unless subject to safeguarding arrangements approved by the department.

Goods that arrive untreated must be treated onshore on wharf or at an Approved Arrangement Site 1.1 if safe to move. Treatment must occur within 48 hours of discharge at the wharf of arrival. If this cannot be arranged, the goods will not be permitted discharge but may be shipped to another port where treatment facilities are available or may be exported.


FCL/ FCX containerised goods in the target tariffs are subject to the same requirements as break bulk for used goods shipped between 1 September 2016 and 30 April 2017.

For new goods manufactured and/or stored between 1 September 2016 and 1 December 2016 as with last season, LCL containerised goods will not be targeted under these measures.

FCL/FCX containerised goods that arrive untreated will require mandatory treatment onshore. Containers will be permitted discharge to the wharf if the seals are intact, and moved to either an Approved Arrangement Site 1.1 or 1.3 (if fumigation facilities are available) for treatment.

Goods manufactured after 1 December

  • New goods in the target tariffs manufactured on or after 1 December 2016 and shipped on or before 30 April 2017 do not require offshore treatment if they have a consignment specific manufacturer’s new and used and not field tested (NUFT) declaration which includes the date and place of manufacture.
  • Goods are only considered to be manufactured after 1 December if all large, complex components have also been manufactured after 1 December.



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 pests such as live pests. If you notice insects on imported goods, report them either:

  • Directly to a biosecurity officer
  • To the department on 1800 798 636
  • By completing a Reportable Biosecurity Incident form.

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