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Phew!– here comes the $6.5 million Stink Bug Season

Friday, 10 August 2018
By Print21
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Imports of pulp paper and paper board from high-risk countries Sept’17 – April’18.

Cost to control the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in pulp, paper and wood products this year will likely add to price hikes for paper to printers. According to a special briefing issued by industry authority, Paper Edge, the cost will be in the millions is likely to delay paper deliveries.

The Stink Bug pest is found in products from countries such as the USA, Italy, Germany and France. Paper from Japan has a lower risk.  Imports from the USA are most likely to be impacted, accounting for 44 per cent of total high-risk shipments.

Efforts to fumigate containers when they arrive means Australia’s pulp, paper and paperboard importers and end-users face significant cost increases – totalling potentially more than AUD6.5 million. Significant delays in onshore treatment are expected, meaning that importers will routinely face additional container detention costs and customers may face delayed deliveries, if treatment has to occur in Australia. Costs of container fumigation in Australia are between $500 and $1,000 per container; less if it’s done offshore.

Importers are reported to be reluctant to undertake offshore treatment as a matter of course, except in specific circumstances where risk assessments and physical inspections indicate that the Stink Bug may to be present. Stink Bug is not found in Australia. If it made its way into the country, agricultural industries and products would be particularly vulnerable to both the juvenile and adult stink bugs. In the past six years, it has spread significantly across North America, and Europe. Stink bug season is reckoned to be from 1 September to 30 April.

The  bugs feed on and can severely damage fruit and vegetable crops rendering them unsellable. They can also be a nuisance, entering vehicles, homes and factories for shelter over winter. Among the products identified  as being at risk by the Department of Agriculture are wood pulp, recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard; paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard: printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans.

Stink bugs have a characteristic and unpleasant smell when disturbed or crushed. Not only is their smell offensive but they aggregate in large numbers in people’s homes and feed on ornamental  and native trees and shrubs.

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