Georgian experience in combating stink bug praised at int’l conference in Sydney

Methods to prevent the spread of the pest and the risk they pose, also diseases of agricultural crops and wildlife and environmental challenges, were discussed at the conference. Photo:, 06 Mar 2020 - 13:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian experience in fighting the brown marmorated stink bug was praised at 'International Symposium on Limiting the Spread of Contaminating Pests 2020' in Sydney, Australia, says the National Food Agency earlier today.  

Methods to prevent the spread of the pest and the risk they pose, also diseases of agricultural crops and wildlife and environmental challenges, were discussed at the conference. 

Georgia has implemented one of the most successful programmes in the world against pests. Now we learn from the Georgians how they did it," said Australia’s first Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer Ian Thompson. 

The conference was organised by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It was attended by representatives of state institutions of 28 countries, as well as the representatives of about 100 scientific-research institutions and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). 

Conference was attended by Nikoloz Meskhi, the head of the National Food Agency’s Plant Protection Department. Photo: the Georgian National Food Agency.

A delegation from Australia visited Georgia in 2019, when they saw some of the regions of the country and learned about methods of combating the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug. 

What measures did Georgia implement in combating the brown marmorated stink bug?

  • In 2018,  the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) offered $3.5 million to Georgia to help the country combat the stink bug infestation problem. USAID gifted over 17 tractors to the Georgian National Food Agency in Abasha, in Georgia’s Samegrelo region in 2018 for the same reason. 
  • In 2019, traps were installed in western Georgia to combat the stink bug infestation problem. The main goal of installing the traps was to reduce the number of stink bugs and determine the area which was colonised by the pest. 
  • In 2019, the government  purchased modern spray machines and sprays against pests and handed them to the Georgian Hazelnut Production Association for use. 
  • Farmers were informed about the planned works and they received SMS messages that informed them about planned measures.
  • Georgia has developed a five-year (2015-2010) project  'Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project' implemented by the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, USAID, Ferrero and CNFA that aims to increase the sustainable capacity and private sector development of the hazelnut industry in Georgia. 

What is the brown marmorated stink bug?

The brown marmorated stink bug is an insect, agricultural pest originated from south-east Asia. It was introduced to the United States from Eastern Asia in the mid-1990s and spread very fast across the country. In Europe it was first observed in Switzerland in 2008. In 2014 it appeared in Russia, Sochi and starting 2015 it was introduced in Abkhazia.

Photo: Daily Record.

The pest was first reported in Georgia in 2015.

In 2016, the bugs destroyed a significant portion of the hazelnut harvest in western Georgia. 2017 was even more devastating and struck a wider area.

What is the latest statistics of hazelnuts export?

Georgia exported hazelnuts worth $63.34 million in 2019, says the preliminary data from the National Statistics Office of Georgia, while it only exported $82.34 million in 2017 and $57.27 million in 2018. 

Production of Georgian hazelnuts decreased after 2015 and amounted to only 17,000 tonnes in 2018. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

Georgia is home to more than 60,000 hazelnut growers.