Jun 23, 2023
Kmart product placed under biosecurity probe, concern about invasive wood
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating a complaint from a
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating a complaint from a Northland mother who believes her Kmart purchase could have contained borer – an invasive pest beetle.
Michelle Reichardt took to social media after finding holes in – and sawdust coming from – a wooden serving tray she’d recently bought online from Kmart.
Her post has drawn 250 comments, including a Hamilton woman who had heard noises coming from shelves she’d also bought from the major budget retailer.
"I could hear this scratching noise at night, and I looked everywhere for it before I found the bamboo full of borer eating through the frame."
Have you bought an item you think could be infested with borer? Contact [email protected].
READ MORE: * Borer damage discovered in The Grandstand in Hamilton * Auckland woman's pantry inundated with larvae from packet of brown rice * Auckland man finds snake as he goes for dip in spa pool
Other Kmart items have also been posted about, including wooden coat hangers, a kiddie kitchen and a bamboo storage cupboard. Several called on Kmart to recall affected products.
Reichardt has organised for her infested tray to be picked up for inspection by MPI – the government department which manages and regulates biosecurity.
The $20 round acacia serving tray is advertised as a classy way to serve "lip-smacking starters and juices to guests".
Reichardt contacted Kmart about it and promptly received both a refund and an email apologising her shopping experience "hadn't gone as planned".
"They should pay for a borer bomb for my house in my opinion. It's scary to think I had it in my home," Reichardt said.
Reichardt said her cousin had bought a similar tray and a believed that had a problem too – which had spread to a rimu table.
Biosecurity manager at MPI, Wendy McDonald, said Reichardt's tray was still in transit so the presence of any insect had not yet been formally identified.
She said MPI had contacted the product supplier requesting information.
"In some cases, offshore treatment failures for some consignments can be identified and Biosecurity New Zealand works closely with importers to rectify the issues," McDonald said.
McDonald said in cases where an infestation was confirmed, products could be fumigated or frozen for seven days to kill insects. Recalls and destruction of products can also be deemed necessary.
Pest control expert Mark McDonald, aka "the Bug King", looked at Reichardt's pictures and said in his opinion, the marks were "definitely borer".
He said by the time people found holes or sawdust in a wooden item, it meant an adult beetle had already burrowed out.
"It will fly around looking for a nice piece of timber to lay its eggs on."
McDonald said borer beetles typically didn't present a risk to a home unless it had been subjected to moisture due to a lack of maintenance.
"One time, a lady had been venting her dryer in the house and that area had become infested with borer because of the moisture."
McDonald said homewares could be rid of borer by items being heated to 60 degrees.
A spokesperson for Kmart responded after Stuff published to say the company "stringently" adheres to biosecurity protocols.
"Given the nature of the insects unfortunately instances of infestation can occur on occasion. This is an industry wide issue and Kmart have continuous improvement processes in place to work toward mitigating instances at the source, and are swift to act when instances are identified. We want to assure our customers that Kmart is doing everything we can to address these issues."Have you bought an item you think could be infested with borer? Contact [email protected]. READ MORE: * Borer damage discovered in The Grandstand in Hamilton * Auckland woman's pantry inundated with larvae from packet of brown rice * Auckland man finds snake as he goes for dip in spa pool