Are you ready for the 2022 Stink Bug Season?

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The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a pest we’re all too familiar with. Each year, it affects the shipping industry and poses a biosecurity risk to Australia. 

It also puts your supply chain operations at risk – if you don’t deal with it correctly and follow the government regulations, your cargo might be significantly delayed or even destroyed. 

Check out our definitive stink bug season guide to ensure smooth sailing this season.

Identifying stink bugs: which stink bugs are bad? 

The non-native, exotic stink bugs are the ones to keep an eye out for. 

They might look similar to native stink bug species, but they’re not: they have the potential to devastate vegetable crops and become a significant (and expensive) problem if it establishes itself in Australia. 

So, what does a brown marmorated stink bug look like? It is shaped like a shield, has a marbled reddish appearance, white banding on the antennae and is usually smaller than other stink bugs (about 14 to 17 mm long).

Where do stink bugs come from?

The brown marmorated stink bug is originally from Asia, but has been known to hitchhike on cargo from Asia, North America, Europe, Oceania and / or South America. 

The origin countries that are considered risky can vary from one season to another. This season China and the UK are being added to the list as emerging risk countries.

Distribution map for the brown marmorated stink bug
Potential distribution and average habitat suitability of the brown marmorated bug. (Jean-Claude Streito, 2020)

When is stink bug season?

This year stink bug season starts on 1st September 2022 and ends on 30th April 2023, inclusive. 

China and the UK have set periods of random inspections: 

  • China: 1st September to 31st December (inclusive)
  • United Kingdom: 1st December to 30th April (inclusive)

During the stink bug season official BMSB seasonal measures apply to certain goods that are considered of risk and manufactured in or shipped from the risk countries during this period of time. 

This also applies to vessels that load, berth or tranship from the risk countries.

Why is the brown marmorated stink bug a problem for freight forwarders?

The stink bug arrives in Australia hiding on cargo, shipping containers, vessels or personal items, particularly in the warmer months. 

Freight forwarders need to be aware that there will be increased surveillance for cargo vessels during the stink bug season months. There is also additional pre-arrival reporting for vessel operators. 

Depending on your type of cargo, it may be subject to random inspection and / or required to undergo a mandatory treatment:

  • High risk goods: require mandatory treatment for BMSB.
  • Risk goods: go under random inspection. 

If your goods don’t fall under these categories but are part of a container that does contain any high risk or risk goods, then the same measures will apply. 

Explorate pro-tips for the stink bug season: 

  • Familiarise your team and yourself with the BMSB measures to ensure a smooth process for your cargo.
  • Do the BMSB fumigation at the country of origin, as Australia will see increased shipping line detention and possible backlogs. However, as our Head of Freight Operations Jo Wilson explains, this can be impacted if you’re importing from colder countries:  

“While we recommend port of origin fumigation, cool weather does impact the ability to fumigate effectively, therefore when we hit December if you’re importing from colder countries i.e. Europe and Northern America, you may need to look into port of destination treatment alternatives”

Jo Wilson
  • Take into account additional lead time at the country of origin to comply with the required fumigation (2 weeks)
  • Be aware of additional fumigation charges. These vary port to port. 
  • Remember: demand during BMSB season is high – engage with your Explorate Ops representative as early as possible!

As logistics experts ourselves, we know the do’s and the don’ts during stink bug season to keep your cargo sailing smoothly. If we’re arranging your BMSB fumigation we make sure to use only approved fumigators with demonstrated capacity to conduct BMSB treatments for the 2022-23 BMSB risk season. 

If you’re not an Explorate customer yet but are interested in seeing how we can help you during the Stink Bug Season 2022-2023, get in touch now to arrange a free demo.

Familiarise yourself with further details about stink bug season in Australia here

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Jean-Claude Streito. 2020. Beware the brown marmorated stink bug.