Australia has notified MPI that they have been detecting wheat bug (Nysius huttoni) in fruit exported from New Zealand. Wheat bug is a quarantine pest for Australia, USA and Korea. Australia also considers wheat bug a priority pest for its wheat industry. As we move away from OPI, on-arrival inspectors will be looking closely at consignments of summerfruit for wheat bug.
Its presence in exported lines could result in a shipment being refused or fumigated, and worse case could potentially close markets to New Zealand Summerfruit. Both adult and nymph forms have previously been detected on summerfruit during OPI inspections.
Preventative measures. Wheat bug can move into bins or fruit pallets sitting on the orchard floor, and can move into sheds from surrounding weed cover. The following are a few suggestions for controlling wheat bug:
- Weed control in orchard loading zones, bin storage areas and around packhouses must be thorough, timely and undertaken well before harvest.
- Spraying herbicides close to harvest may force wheat bugs to move out of their normal habitat and onto bins or pallets in storage areas.
- Keep new packaging in clean storage areas.
- Keep fruit bins and pallets in clean storage areas when not in use.
- Minimise contact between fruit containers and the orchard.
- Prior to packing - tip packaging upside down and tap vigorously to remove any contaminants.
Photo - HortNET, The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Bugwood.org