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New fruit-eating pests found in Norway


Photo: Erling Fløistad

There is a constant risk that foreign species will be unknowingly brought in alongside imported goods. The brown marmorated stink bug is one such species, with the potential to cause tremendous damage to a wide variety of crops. The bug was recently discovered in a shipment of imported tiles.

“NIBIO often receives samples from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority,” says Torstein Kvamme, adviser at NIBIO. Imported goods are checked to prevent unwanted species from entering the country. In April, we were sent a particularly interesting sample that was found in the packaging from a shipment of tiles. The sample contained around 25 adult bugs.

“A Swedish expert has now confirmed our suspicion that we are indeed dealing with a species known as the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys),” says Kvamme. In Norwegian, the species is known as brunmarmorert breitege.

The bugs are about half an inch long and resemble Norwegian stink bugs. The species originated in Asia, but in recent years the transportation of goods has dispersed it to numerous other areas. The bug was first detected in the United States in 2001 and has since spread to several states.

In Europe, the brown marmorated stink bug was first found in 2004, in Lichtenstein. The species has since been discovered in Switzerland, France, Germany, and Italy, among other countries.

In Sweden, the bug has been found on four occasions in materials imported from southern Europe, but is thought to have been contained.

“This is a species we absolutely do not want in Norway,” says Kvamme. Stink bugs can feed on over 100 different species of plants. They are known to be harmful to a number of ornamental and fruit trees, including apple, plum, and cherry, as well as vegetables.

The brown marmorated stink bug is able to fly quickly from one host to another throughout the growing season. It remains to be seen whether the species is capable of surviving in Norway in the long term, but it is highly likely. In any case, the brown marmorated stink bug is a foreign species that should undoubtedly be kept out of the country.