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Agricultural Pests Stopped at Arizona Port of Entry

Release Date: 
September 17, 2010

Nogales, Ariz. - In less than a month, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working the Mariposa cargo facility discovered three significant pests, two of which have never before been found in the United States, and the third of which has only been found once before.

"Exciting interceptions of these types are exactly what keeps Nogales CBP agriculture specialists motivated each and every day to protect our nation from invasion by harmful foreign insects as well as plant and animal diseases," said Port Director Guadalulpe Ramirez.

On August 11th, CBP agriculture specialists inspecting commercial importations discovered an adult weevil, (Curculionidae), with pineapples and Persian limes from Mexico. The specimen was forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Identification Services for identification and a final report was returned that confirmed the identification of this quarantine significant pest. This is the first time this pest has been intercepted at a port of entry according to available records in the Pest Identification Database. Pantomorus uniformis is generally known to occur in southern Mexico and northern Central America.

On September 6th, CBP agriculture specialists inspecting commercial importations discovered an adult Hemipteran insect, Calocorisca tenera (Miridae), with tomatoes from Mexico. Normally, tomatoes from Mexico are considered to be low risk for the introduction of pests of concern. However, most of the insects in this family are agricultural pests that cause damage to crops by piercing plant tissues and feeding on the juices. This is the first time this pest has been intercepted at a port of entry from Mexico according to available records in the Pest Identification Database.

Within minutes of this interception, another Nogales CBP agriculture specialist discovered two adult shield bugs, Euschistus crenator subsp. orbiculator (Pentantomidae), on a commercial shipment of fresh corn entering from Mexico. The nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts which most use to suck sap from plants, although some eat other insects. This is the first time this pest has been intercepted at a port of entry according to available records in the Pest Identification Database.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in agricultural and biological inspection. Their historic mission of preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests into the United States provides CBP with the expertise to recognize and prevent the entry of organisms that could potentially devastate entire segments of our agriculture-related economy.

While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017