Three Non-native Insects Intercepted by CBP Agents in Philadelphia Port
Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Philadelphia intercepted two insect species that were never before recorded in the U.S., plus a third one that has never been recorded in the Philadelphia area. The identifications of all three were recently confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The CBP agriculture specialists intercepted Dalmochrimnus guatemalanus, a species of seed bug, in a shipment of cassava and chayotes from Costa Rica on November 7, and they also found a longhorned beetle called Stenygra setigera in a container of granite from Brazil on November 17. Neither one has ever been documented in the United States.
CBP agriculture specialists also intercepted a Chinese wax scale (Ceroplastes sinensis) in a shipment of persimmons on November 20 — the first to be reported in the Philadelphia area.
“Keeping these insect pests out of the United States is of grave concern for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and our agriculture specialists take their job very seriously,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “Holding the line against destructive insects at our nation’s borders protects America’s varied agricultural industries, and saves our nation’s economy the expense associated with eradicating and recovering from new invasive species.”
During all three interceptions, CBP submitted the insect specimens to USDA entomologists for complete identification.
Dalmochrimnus guatemalanus is a member of the family Lygaeidae and is a significant pest of crops, grains, shrubs, and trees. The USDA prescribed that the shipment of Costa Rican cassava and chayotes be fumigated.
Stenygra setigera is a longhorned beetle that belongs to the family Cerambycidae. They are native to Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia, and are serious wood-boring pests of forests. The importer is deciding between fumigating, re-exporting, or destroying the shipment of Brazilian granite, which was destined for Delaware.
Ceroplastes sinensis is a pest of commercial citrus crops in Spain. The insect has a waxy external layer that acts as a protective barrier against pesticide treatments, making pest control a difficult task. The importer fumigated the shipment of persimmons.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with the USDA to protect U.S. agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases. On a typical day, CBP agriculture specialists inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, plus air and sea cargo.
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