AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico-US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered two pests found for the first time at Aguadilla port of entry, one of them never before found at ports in Puerto Rico.
On November 17, 2014, while inspecting a shipment of cut flowers from Colombia at the Rafael Hernandez Airport in northwestern Puerto Rico, a CBP Agriculture Specialist intercepted various insects on a Mixed Flower Bouquet. These insects were identified on November 18, 2014 by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Systematic Entomology Laboratory (SEL) as Pseudococcidae sp. and Argyrotaenia sp. (Tortricidae), which are actionable pests. Argyrotaenia sp. (Tortricidae) was a “first time” interception in the Aguadilla port.
That same day, the agriculture specialists intercepted another pest, which was identified by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) as Tuberculatus sp. (Aphididae). The insect was found on Chrysanthemum sp., often called mums. This insect is an actionable pest and it is the first time it has been found at Puerto Rico ports of entry.
CBP Agriculture Specialists issued an Emergency Action Notification requiring the shipments to be re-exported or fumigated. Shipments have been safeguarded and transferred to USDA for treatment.
“CBP Agriculture specialists have an important mission in safeguarding the nation’s agriculture”, said Mirella Couto, San Juan Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade. “This first in port interception demonstrate the vigilance of the agriculture specialists in Puerto Rico and their dedication to detect and prevent foreign invasive plants and plant pests from entering through our ports of entry.”
CBP Agriculture specialists work closely with APHIS PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
CBP Agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Their duties include inspecting tens of thousands of international air passengers and air and sea cargo that arrive into the United States each day.
Approximately 4184 pest interceptions were submitted to USDA at ports of entry in the San Juan Office of Field Operations during Fiscal Year 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.