Horticultural industry groups and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have applied for permission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to release the samurai wasp as a biocontrol agent in the event stink bugs are found in New Zealand.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Council chairman Alan Pollard said an incursion would have disastrous consequences for horticulturists and their industries as well as everyday New Zealanders.
“The stink bug is one of the biggest biosecurity threats we face, and it could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses. The wasp provides an opportunity to be proactive in our approach and gives us another tool we can use to control the stink bug,” Pollard said to Stuff NZ.
“It feeds on over 300 plant species and can multiply and get to very high population numbers rapidly, destroying crops and gardens and even get into your home.
“In the UA and Europe where the invasive pest has become established, it has caused severe damage to the horticulture industries. It’s also invaded residents’ homes and become a real social nuisance.
“We’ve also seen growers overseas use high levels of insecticides as the primary way to control the stink bug. We believe the wasp will provide a targeted and self-sustaining control tool and provides growers with another option other than increasing insecticide sprays.”