An entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed the discovery of a new pest that was found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents at Baltimore Washington International airport. The insect, Palmaspis sp. (Asterolecaniidae), was found as officers were inspecting a palm leaf hat from Jamaica worn by a traveler in June.
The USDA entomologist also confirmed that CBP agriculture specialists at the Baltimore seaport discovered another new pest in the Baltimore area when they intercepted Dolichoderus quadripiunctatus, a type of ant, while inspecting a shipment of ceramic tiles from Italy on November 20.
The following video from a Baltimore television station shows the customs agents at work, aided by a detector dog, as they sort through luggage brought from other countries containing items like barbecued bats, dried fish, beef jerky, venison, plus all sorts of fruits and vegetables which could potentially contain insect pests.
“CBP agriculture specialists are very good at detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests,” said Sheryl Monette, Assistant Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “These discoveries highlight the importance of the work they do, part of which is protecting the U.S. agriculture industry.”
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.
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