Bug alarm

A STOWAWAY stink bug that could cause major damage to WA agriculture has been found at Fremantle Port.

The brown marmorated stink bug was found in a trap used by the federal agriculture department.

The pest can be distinguished from regular stink bugs by the white banding at the edge of its abdomen. All stink bugs emit a stench when provoked.

The state agriculture department says the marmorated stink bug feeds on more than 300 plant species including sweet corn, apples, peaches, figs and citrus fruit.

Their nibbling leaves behind saliva that rots the fruit and makes it pong.

The stench is so strong that if any grapes or citrus fruit they’ve fed on are used in juice, it can ruin the entire batch.

Strong stench

The department says the bug’s infants cause the most damage: the nymphs hatch from clusters of 25 to 30 eggs hidden on the underside of leaves and feed voraciously.

Anyone living in the North Fremantle area should help look for the marmorated stink bug, inspecting underneath plant leaves, well-lit areas at night, or keeping an eye out for large clusters of stink bugs when the weather cools down.

Businesses that deal with imported goods like car dealerships, building suppliers, garden product suppliers and electrical goods distributors should also keep an eye out.

If you spot a brown marmorated stink bug, secure it, and call 9368 3080.

by DAVID BELL

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