21 April 2006
From Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated
Australian orchards fear new bug
The NZ pipfruit industry reacted angrily to suggestions from Australian apple growers that the discovery of NZ wheat bug
in Europe poses further risks for Australia.
“The finding of the New Zealand wheat bug (Nysius huttoni) in Holland and Belgium does not increase the likelihood the
insect will be found in apple consignments to Australia” Pipfruit NZ Chief Executive Peter Beaven said in Hastings
“In fact our analysis points to the high probability that the wheat bugs found were not from apple exports at all. Wheat
bug can only survive for short periods in coolstorage, and would not survive the journey to Europe,” Mr Beaven stated.
The incursion most probably occurred through a non chilled transport mechanism such as another commodity or by tourists.
Wheat bug is not a pest of apples but an insect found in grasslands. It is not a common ‘passenger’ in apple
consignments and poses no risk in chilled transport. Additionally, export apples are washed, sorted and graded before
packing and an insect such as wheat bug would be detected and removed by this process.
“The comments and concerns raised by the Australian apple industry are typical of the misinformation they have peddled
throughout this whole access issue,” Mr Beaven added. “It demonstrates the level they will stoop to in order to avoid
competition in their own domestic market.”
Biosecurity Australia has already addressed wheat bug in its draft IRA assisted with significant information provided by
Biosecurity New Zealand.