A biosecurity expert says the discovery of live brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) in a package from the United States is worrying.
Twenty-six of the bugs were discovered in a box of imported shoes, bought by an eBay customer in Oamaru.
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Director of the industry group Better Border Biosecurity (B3), Dr David Teulon said any find of a small population of pests like this one is concerning.
"BMSB is a potentially very serious pest to many of our valued plant systems, both productive and natural," he said.
"The threat from BMSB has been known for at least 10 years now, as it has rapidly spread around the world, and the research community, including B3, is working closely with government and industry to develop tools to keep it out of the country," said Dr Teulon.
He said the recently formed BMSB Council reflects the widespread concern for BMSB invading New Zealand.
"BMSB poses several unique challenges for us as it hides in many commodities that cross our borders such as shoe boxes in eBay shipments but also larger items like imported cars."
"This behaviour makes it very difficult to find and kill."
Dr Teulon said its important that all New Zealanders are on the lookout for this pest, echoing the Biosecurity 2025 programme's theme of 'a biosecurity team of 4.7 million'.