Prepare for the 2021-2022 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Season

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) poses a serious biohazard threat to both Australia and New Zealand. Both countries have implemented new seasonal import regulations to combat this risk that may impact your shipments. Reduce potential delays and impediments by keeping up to date with changing requirements and understanding the packaging and treatment requirements for your specific commodities.


What is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug?

Originally native to Asia, the BMSB was accidentally imported to North America in the late 1990s, and to some European countries after 2000. Since then, the BMSB has been detected and is spreading in more than 40 countries.

Feeding on more than 300 plant species, the BMSB often invades vehicles, homes, and factories in large numbers during autumn, looking for shelter over winter. In addition to decimating crops, these pests pose a potential and severe biosecurity risk as they secrete a smelly chemical when threatened that can cause a burning sensation on skin contact. In fact, their smell is an aeroallergen that can cause allergic reactions in some people.


Australia’s BMSB regulations

In Australia, the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment (the Department) has published new seasonal measures for the BMSB risk season, running from September 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. The Department updated the measures to combat the biohazard risk BMSB poses to shipments entering Australia. Here’s a high-level list of the BMSB requirements for Australia.

  • All shipment goods must be packaged and presented in a manner that allows for effective BMSB treatment to be conducted.
  • All packaged goods must allow for heat or fumigation treatment to reach all internal and external surfaces.
  • If goods are plastic wrapped, the wrapping must be adjusted or slashed to allow for adequate access for the fumigant or heat to infiltrate and achieve an effective treatment.
  • The seasonal packaging guidelines are only applied to the goods being imported, not the packaging materials.
  • Packaging materials such as cardboard, plastic and timber packaging or pallets will not be subject to BMSB measures. All packaging materials must meet non-commodity requirements, however.


Australia deems that any vessel that transships or loads goods from risk countries is subject to heightened vessel surveillance on arrival in Australia. For the full list of the target risk goods, visit the Department’s BMSB website.

New requirements this year

Following detections of BMSB in the last season, air cargo arriving in Australia between September 1 and November 30, 2021, inclusive from the United States and Italy containing any of the high-risk goods will be subject to random verification inspections.

Selecting a treatment provider

Australia has updated their list of registered BMSB treatment providers in 24 countries from the 2020-2021 BMSB season. Be sure your treatment provider is an approved one.

Some goods will require mandatory offshore BMSB treatment prior to arrival in Australia, including all high-risk goods, goods shipped as break bulk, in open containers, or on flat rack containers, and goods that are shipped between September 1, 2021, and April 30, 2022.

To see the full list of offshore providers, visit the Australian BMSB website.


New Zealand’s BMSB regulations

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released its own regulations to combat BMSB during the peak risk season. There are some similarities between regulations in Australia and those set in New Zealand, there are also some areas where the regulations differ.

One major difference is that New Zealand has updated its measures for BMSB management. Now, for example, all-terrain vehicles, golf carts, quad bikes, and side-by-side racers are no longer eligible to meet the BMSB management exclusion criteria.

MPI strongly encourages importers to conduct offshore treatments before arriving in New Zealand. To assist importers, MPI has developed a new manufactures declaration template to replace the five pre-existing templates from last season.

The new templates include information on which goods meet the BMSB management exclusion criteria and allow for user modification where required. To view or download the declaration template visit the New Zealand MPI website.


The cost of non-compliance

Non-compliance with the set packing or treatment regulations will likely cause severe delays and potentially inaccurate treatment, resulting in the exportation of your shipment once arriving in Australia or New Zealand.

If you are unsure if your shipment meets BMSB standards, visit the Department’s BMSB website or MPI’s website.


Minimize delays during BMSB season

While BMSB regulations may add steps to your import process, there are ways to minimize delays for your high-risk goods or goods travelling from risk countries.

First, provide early and accurate documentation for your shipments. This includes all details of treatment procedures and packaging information. Accurate information up front can speed up any inspection processes for your freight.

Second, attempt to complete all BMSB treatments offshore and prior to arriving in Australia or New Zealand. And be ready for your customs officials to check your treatment certificates. This can help you avoid treatment backlogs at Australia and New Zealand ports.

Finally, whenever possible, work with shipping and import experts to help navigate current and changing requirements. Our Trusted Advisor® experts are ready and able to discuss your specific risks and help establish your next steps for a smooth, seamless BMSB season. Connect with an expert today to get started.

Brian Slater
Manager Product (Customs) | Oceania
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