Invasive pest inside EU expose regulation weakness


Since 2018 Anticimex Sweden have on several occasions encountered the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) in goods imported from the European continent writes Häkan Kjellberg, Board Member of CEPA.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is native to eastern Asia, as shown on the map above. It has during the last 20 years spread across the World (2001 USA, 2004 Europe, 2017-18 Australia). In many warmer areas the species has quickly become a pest in fruit and vegetable cultivations, resulting in produce that is unfit for sale. The BMSB may also have the potential to interfere with local trophic webs and thus poses a threat to several agro-ecosystems. Therefore, the species could cause major economic damage.
In Sweden, due to its relatively harsh winter climate, BSMB is not a present threat to such cultivations. However, with a warmer climate, this may change, at least for the southern part of the country, which also happens to be the hot spot for fruit production in Sweden. In October 2020, Anticimex Sweden found the BMSB several times in cargo from Italy and one time for both Hungary and Poland. Unfortunately, since the BMSB is not on the European Union’s list of invasive alien species there is no legislation to regulate the control of this species. Another problem is that the Swedish Board of Agriculture handles this species from an agricultural, plant protection view, and Anticimex from a customer-based view (i.e. Anticimex most often find the BMSB in imported goods in warehouses, far from farmlands). Since, there is no legislation in use for this species Anticimex is restricted to using mechanical and physical methods including vacuum-cleaning of the goods, glue traps, heat or freezing treatment etc.; actions clearly defined within the scope of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
This text highlights the problem with European legislation which is aimed at tackling such pests, but which is not applicable for the situations where Anticimex finds the BMSB, outside of the agricultural context and in the urban, supply chain environment. For Sweden, and other countries where this bug has not yet successfully established, it is of high importance that all available control methods, including the use of biocides, can be used to hinder the spread.

The concern is that European authorities may miss vital information on the means through which this species, and other alien species, is spread. This is due principally to a restrictive regulatory focus in tackling these issues, addressing agricultural threats from invasive pests once they have arrived in farms and orchards, overlooking much of the preventative steps which can be undertaken across supply chains by the professional pest management sector. Improvements must be made in the gathering of key information from pest control operators that often are on the front line in encountering invasive pests such as the BMSB, and bringing a holistic perspective to pest management in Europe.

Make sure also to sign CEPA’s Memorandum of Understanding online, now available for download in 13 languages. Signatures from businesses, public figures and civil society representatives are welcome and important to CEPA.

Membership benefits