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The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an agricultural pest native to China. The BMSB spreads across the world through vehicles and containers and damages crops, fruits and ornamental trees. That is why the Quarantine Departments of Australia and New-Zealand are taking measures against the BMSB. Incoming goods should be treated against the insects during the high-risk season. This season concerns goods shipped between September the 1st and April the 30th (these dates included).

Appearance, lifestyle and spreading

The scientific name for the brown marmorated stink bug is Halyomorpha halys. As the name says, the bug is brown and belongs to the stink bug-family. Like other stink bugs, the BMSB is shield-shaped. An adult BMSB is around 17 millimetre long. The stink bugs got their name because they have scent glands on their body, this scent smells like coriander. The reason stink bugs have this smell, is because it protects them from being eaten by lizards or birds. If something so much as touches the insect, it relieves the scent.

The BMSB feeds on plants, vegetables and fruits. They feed by sucking, this means that they pierce their food with their proboscis (an elongated ‘nose’). This causes a lot of damage to the plant they are feeding from. The adult bugs live several months to a year. At the end of summer, the insects have to find shelter for surviving the winter. They do this in dry and dark places. Places such as houses, but also moving places, like vehicles and containers. This is a problem, because this way the insect can rapidly spread across the world. This results in damage to plants and trees around the globe.


Due to the spreading and the damaging effect of the insect, Australia and New-Zealand have taken measures. Incoming goods have to be treated against the BMSB during the high-risk season.

There are two methods to treat cargo against the bug. The first is fumigation, the second is heat treatment (this is also bio treatment). At EWS, we offer both kinds of treatment.