In December, 2013 we reported that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted an ant from Italy while inspecting a shipment of ceramic tiles in Baltimore.
Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the same CBP office recently made a first-in-the-nation pest discovery when they intercepted a moth, Nemapogon gersimovi, while inspecting a shipment of bulk organic soybeans from China.
This moth could pose a significant agriculture threat because they are known to feed on seeds and grains, reducing farmers’ yields.
“Keeping this pest out of the nation saves the American agricultural industry from the expense of eradication, and the hardship of finding their crops damaged by a new danger,” said Andrii Melnyk, Acting CBP Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “By stopping destructive species at the border before they can enter the United States for the first time, CBP officers and agriculture specialists protect this vital American industry.”
The moth was discovered in a 50,000 pound shipment of bulk organic soybeans from China destined for Pennsylvania and intended for animal feed. CBP then forwarded the specimen to a USDA entomologist for identification.
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or destroyed. The importer chose to re-export the shipment.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect almost 1 million people as well as air and sea cargoes imported to the United States, and they seize 4,379 prohibited meats, plant materials, and animal products, including 440 insect pests.