The Ultimate Stink Bug Season Guide [2019/20 Update]

Check our article on the latest BMSB season:

During the season from September to May stink bugs can arrive in Australia on cargo and in containers. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) provide a biosecurity risk to Australia, impacting agriculture and damaging fruit and vegetable crops across the nation. To protect against infestation, The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has introduced stringent measures to protect our borders. Failure to adhere to the outlined requirements can result in the destruction of your cargo. 

At ICE, we have actively taken part in industry discussions and meetings to keep up to date with the latest Australian regulations and help you stay compliant.

This guide below is designed to provide you with quick key information of the 2019/2020 season.

After reading, test your knowledge with our Stink Bug Quiz at the end of this article!

The Stink Bug In Australia

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) can feed on around 300 different plant species and severely damage fruit and vegetable crops, representing a biosecurity risk to Australia. 

On the last 2018/19 season, the industry experienced delays of up to a week at Australia fumigation depots whilst the congestion in Europe was even more severe. Despite the efforts made there were still a massive 201 stink bug detections at the border and 59 post border detections which have been contained and managed. 

Stink Bug 2019/2020 Season Dates

The stink bug season in Australia and globally will now take place from 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020, as opposed to the previous end date of 30 April. That means that in one year, only three months are free from the stink bug measures.

Who Is Affected

 The 2019-20 BMSB seasonal measures apply to:

  • Certain goods (target high risk goods and target risk goods) manufactured in, or shipped from, target risk countries as sea cargo.
  • Any target high risk or target risk goods manufactured in, or shipped from these countries are subject to the BMSB seasonal measures.
  • Any vessel that berths at, loads or tranships goods from these countries are also subject to heightened vessel surveillance.

Target Risk Countries

In this 2019/20 season, the stink bug season measures will apply to an increased amount of 32 countries, plus heightened surveillance for Japan*.  

Any products imported from the below countries during stink bug season will need to be treated.

Stink Bug Season 2019/2020 Target Risk Countries

What Products are Affected?

If your cargo originates from any of the above countries, and is not under the exempt category,  your goods must be treated. There are three categories that your goods may come into: high risk goods, target risk goods and exempt category.

high risk goods stink bug season 2020

High-risk goods that require mandatory treatment for BMSB are any items listed below. Please note that these measures will again capture any spare parts and accessories that are shipped with not risk items.

stink bug season - high risk goods

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target risk goods stink bug season 2020

Target risk goods, however, will be subject to increased onshore intervention in Australia through random inspection. 

stink bug season - target risk goods

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exempt category goods stink bug season 2020

Exempt goods include:

  •  Fresh Produce (including nursery stock and plants)
  •  Live animals
  •  Food for human consumption (including beverages)
  •  Seeds for sowing
  •  Registered Pharmaceuticals

For all other goods that are not categorised as high risk and target risk goods, BMSB seasonal measures do not apply. However, these goods may be subject to the measures if they are part of a container or consignment that contains any target risk goods.

What Treatments are Required?

Approved brown marmorated stink bug treatments include:

  • Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation
  • Methyl bromide fumigation
  • Heat treatment

All offshore treatments must be by an approved treatment provider supported by a BMSB Treatment Certificate.

Offshore treatment providers will need to register and be approved by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Be aware that any goods treated by offshore treatment providers that become suspended will be subject to in-transit provisions allowing goods to move provided they were on the water at the time of suspension. The goods would then be inspected or retreated on arrival.

What Containers Are Affected? 

LCL and FAK containers – Mandatory Onshore or Offshore Treatment 

Target high risk goods shipped in sealed six hard sided containers will require mandatory offshore or onshore treatment.

LCL (Less than Container Load) and FAK (Freight of All Kind) containers with target high risk goods will be managed at the container level for BMSB risk prior to deconsolidation.

Containers treated offshore will be subject to early reporting to enable timely movement off wharf and will be permitted to deconsolidate.

Containers seeking onshore treatment will also be subject to early reporting and will be permitted to move to an Approved Arrangement site for treatment at the container level (deconsolidation or segregation of goods will not be permitted).

Break bulk, Open Top and Flat Rack containers – Mandatory Offshore Treatment

Target high risk goods shipped as break bulk cargo, open top or on flat rack containers will be subject to mandatory offshore treatment. Untreated break bulk will be denied discharge and be directed for export on arrival.

Ro-Ro Vessels 

All roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels will be required to conduct self-inspections and respond to specific questions as part of the pre-arrival reporting requirements. They will also need to undergo a mandatory seasonal pest inspection on arrival in Australia.

Treatment Providers 

There are now 193 approved offshore treatment providers across 24 countries. 

Where onshore treatment of goods is permitted, you can find a list of approved arrangement providers in Australia here.

Treatment providers that were registered under the scheme during the 2018-19 season must complete a renewal application for the 2019-20 season. 

stink-bug season 2019 2020

    Will My Goods be Damaged by Treatment?

    The approved and most commonly used treatment for stink bugs in Australia is Methyl Bromide. 

    Some goods are adversely affected when treated with Methyl Bromide. If you are looking to transport your goods via LCL and they are on the exempt list you should be aware that the whole container could still be fumigated and as such you will be charged for this process. 

    If your goods are on the list of products that may be adversely affected by treatment, please contact your ICE Representative prior to shipping. 

    What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

    • Work with your forwarder to identify the type of goods you are importing and whether they are exempt, high risk or target risk. 
    • Check the origin of your goods. 
    • Remember: Even if your goods are being exported from a non-risk country, but were manufactured in an affected country, treatment will still be required.
    • Ensure containers are packed in a manner that will enable onshore treatment.
    • If your goods are high risk, work with your forwarder to source a suitable approved treatment provider.  
    • Budget additional costs for your shipment in case your goods require treatment on arrival in Australia.
    • If you decide to ship high risk goods without a treatment certificate you must have your goods treated immediately upon arrival. If your goods remain untreated they can be completely destroyed.
    • Remember: All goods must still meet the standard import conditions in BICON for all other biosecurity risks.

    One Last Tip

    Your freight forwarder is the most suitable person to guide you through stink bug season. Remember to check out the risk category of your goods prior to shipping. The more prepared you are prior to arranging your shipment the less impact the stink bug season will have on you. 

    How Much Have You Learnt From This Article?

    stink bug season quiz

    China is not a target risk country.

    Correct! Wrong!

    Steel and aluminium are considered high-risk goods, and therefore require mandatory treatment.

    Correct! Wrong!

    What is the new stink bug season date?

    Correct! Wrong!

    If you pack NON-target risk goods in a container with target risk goods, the whole container will be subject to intervention.

    Correct! Wrong!

    Glass and glass ware are target risk goods.

    Correct! Wrong!

    They are HIGH-risk goods, therefore must be treated.

    Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL) must be treated offshore.

    Correct! Wrong!

    They can be treated both onshore and offshore, as long as it is with an approved treatment provider.

    Target risk goods can enter Australia provided that they come with a special Exemption Declaration.

    Correct! Wrong!

    Only for very specific situations, an exemption may be provided where goods are being imported for the use of delivering emergency services and the measures will significantly impact the delivery of that service to state or federal government.

    For onshore treatment, desconsolidation or segregation of goods will be permitted.

    Correct! Wrong!

    Deconsolidation or segregation of goods will NOT be permitted. Onshore treatment will be subject to early reporting and will be permitted to move to an Approved Arrangement site for treatment at the container level.

    Which of these items are considered Risk Goods?

    Correct! Wrong!

    Paper, paperboard and printing articles are considered Risk Goods. They do not require mandatory treatment but will be subject to random inspection.

    Even if your goods are being exported from a non-risk country, but were manufactured in an affected country, treatment will still be required.

    Correct! Wrong!

    If you decide to ship high risk goods without a treatment certificate you must have your goods treated immediately upon arrival.

    Test Your Stink Bug Knowledge With This Quick QUIZ!

    Share your Results:


    Should you have any questions regarding the 2019/2020 stink bug season please contact your ICE team member on 1300 CARGO1

    Request a Free Quote or call us on 1300 227 461


    Richard Gliganic

    Just browsing your website and I must say it is one of the best I have come across in the Australia forwarding arena. Well designed and very informative. Well done.

    International Cargo Express

    Thank you for reading it and for the support Richard!


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