MPI snif­fer dog joins stink bug fight

A bug-sniff­ing de­tec­tor dog in­tro­duced by the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries will help stop the po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing brown mar­morated stink bug from mak­ing a home in New Zealand.

NZ Grower - - Election 2017 -

An MPI labrador named Ge­orgie demon­strated her sniff­ing skills on stage re­cently by lo­cat­ing dead stink bugs hid­den in a har­vest­ing ma­chine at the New Zealand Wine­grow­ers con­fer­ence in Blen­heim.

MPI will have two trained dogs ready to sniff out stink bugs this sum­mer, in­clud­ing a spe­cial­ist dog to as­sist with de­tect­ing the pest in the event of an in­cur­sion, says MPI border clear­ance di­rec­tor Steve Gil­bert.

"While we do our best to pre­vent this un­wanted pest com­ing into New Zealand in the first place, we need to be pre­pared if some­thing slips through our border de­fences.

"Stud­ies by the United States De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and our own tri­als show that dogs have huge po­ten­tial to help de­tect stink bugs when they cluster in groups."

Mr Gil­bert says the stink bug dogs will also as­sist with biose­cu­rity de­tec­tion work at the border, in­clud­ing lo­cat­ing bugs on im­ported ve­hi­cles and ma­chin­ery.

"Ge­orgie, who is an ex­pe­ri­enced de­tec­tor dog, picked up the new scent very quickly. This sug­gests it should be rel­a­tively easy to train other MPI dogs at short no­tice for stink bug de­tec­tion work."

The stink bug sea­son has started. Mr Gil­bert says MPI will again be step­ping up its ef­forts over the spring and sum­mer months to stop brown mar­morated stink bug from reach­ing New Zealand.

"This will in­clude car­ry­ing out in­creased in­spec­tions of ves­sels and goods from the United States and coun­tries in Europe where the bug is es­tab­lished."

Brown mar­morated stink bug would have a se­ri­ous im­pact on New Zealand’s hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­tries if it be­came es­tab­lished, he says.

"Pre­vent­ing a stink bug in­va­sion is one of MPI’s high­est biose­cu­rity pri­or­i­ties."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.