Cropping

Plant pest stowaways in Christmas surprise packages

Grain Central, November 22, 2016

THEY pose a $30 billion risk to Australia’s cropping, forestry and horticulture industries and this festive season gift givers and recipients are advised to look out for unwanted plant pests in packages arriving from overseas.

Brown marmorated stink bug.

Brown marmorated stink bug.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) leader for biosecurity preparedness, Sarah Sullivan, said Australia was lucky to be free from many of the world’s worst plant pests.

“While our biosecurity system helps protect us from exotic plant pests, we’re asking everyone to help protect our natural environment, plant production and agriculture by checking packages for nasty stowaways,” Ms Sullivan said.

“Online shopping, gifts from family and friends or imported items can easily harbour insect pests and diseases which could cause damage and threaten our way of life.

“If you are purchasing goods from overseas, especially seeds and items made from wood or organic material, check whether it can legally come into Australia.”

Plant pests hiding in imported goods can remain dormant for years and not emerge until environmental conditions are right.

From exotic fruit flies to tramp ants, brown marmorated stink bugs and golden apple snails, the Australian Government lists the top 40 unwanted plant pests on its website, http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/plant

NSW DPI encourages shoppers to report any signs of pests and diseases found in imported goods by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

Source: NSW DPI

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