Next week — March 15-21, 2015 — is National Termite Awareness Week, an annual observance by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to promote public vigilance against termites. And what better way is there to promote public vigilance than to capture a potentially destructive termite species stowed away in cargo?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed that a termite that was intercepted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Philadelphia was the area’s first-recorded interception of that particular termite species. The CBP agriculture specialists discovered 20 live specimens inside the wood packaging material used to secure a shipment of pineapples from the Dominican Republic.
A local USDA entomologist then determined that the specimens were drywood termites belonging to the genus Cryptotermes, which are found in the West Indies. The entomologist also reported the interception as a first-in-port discovery.
“Intercepting these destructive insect pests at our nation’s borders is of paramount concern to U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP agriculture specialists are very serious about protecting America’s agriculture industry. They remain vigilant at intercepting invasive insect and plant species at our ports of entry.”
In addition to the termite discovery, CBP agriculture specialists discovered heavily infested wood packaging material — wood pallets and bracing — in the shipment. An earlier shipment of Dominican Republic pineapple was also found to contain heavily-infested materials.
CBP agriculture specialists captured 43 termite specimens from the earlier shipment and ordered it to be re-exported to the Dominican Republic.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis, and in imported agriculture inspection techniques. They are the first line of defense in the protection of U.S. agriculture, forest, and livestock industries from exotic, destructive plant pests and animal diseases. CBP agriculture specialists work closely with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to protect U.S. agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.
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