Nicola Robertson, Biosecurity Manager, New Zealand Apples & Pears
Keep your eyes open for unwanted pests
As borders into New Zealand open up, it is important to keep biosecurity front of mind in orchards and packhouses. An increase in visitor numbers means increased risk. However, these risks can be kept under control with good communication with incoming travellers and by keeping our own industry biosecurity practices tight.
It is great to see that biosecurity messages on incoming flights are now compulsory. We also look forward to new posters on brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) in the arrivals area of the airport to remind everyone to be on the lookout for this key pest. In 2019 we had over 200 detections of BMSB at the border, which was down to 60 this season. Border controls – including the lack of tourists, has brought this number down and we would like to keep it that way.
Much of our industry will be welcoming the opportunity to travel more freely and re-establish overseas connections with customers and markets. Just be careful not to bring any unwelcome guests back home with you. Check your bags for stowaways, especially BMSB and ensure any boots or equipment used in overseas orchards are disinfected properly before they are used here.
Despite our strong border biosecurity, there’s still always the risk of a new organism arriving. Just a few weeks ago we found a lone Fall Army Worm (FAW) egg mass in Tauranga and with a bit of digging, found it was already spread across the upper North Island.
FAW has caused devastation overseas, with swarms of caterpillars damaging crops such as maize, as well as several vegetables. There’s also a small risk to fruit crops as it can feed on 350 different species.
It is a timely reminder to make sure you have good biosecurity practices in place on the orchard to reduce your risk. Unfortunately, by the time we find an unwanted pest it can already be widespread.
To see how your orchard biosecurity practices stack up, checkout the ‘NZAPI Biosecurity Checklist.’
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for anything unusual. Download the Find-A-Pest app to easily report anything strange you find in the orchard.
Copies of the ‘NZAPI Biosecurity Checklist’ and other NZAPI biosecurity resources can be downloaded from the NZAPI website or by emailing email@example.com
If you have any biosecurity questions or concerns, please feel free to contact NZAPI at firstname.lastname@example.org