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Agriculture Specialists In Puerto Rico Report Another "First" Insect Discovery

Release Date: 
June 18, 2012

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico - For the second time in less than a month, a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists had discovered a new insect pest in air cargo that arrived recently at the Rafael Hernandez Airport in northwestern Puerto Rico.

CBP Agriculture Specialists found the Epitrix (Chrysomelidae), commonly known as the

CBP Agriculture Specialists found the Epitrix (Chrysomelidae), commonly known as the "flea beetle," while inspecting a shipment of cut flowers from Colombia. The beetle was discovered in a shipment of Chrysanthemums and intercepted.

According to USDA, this is the first time that this particular insect has been intercepted at the port of Aguadilla.

CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or fumigated. The shipment will be safeguarded and transferred to USDA for treatment.

"I would like to recognize the outstanding job that Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Field Office perform on a daily basis," said Marcelino Borges, director of Field Operations for San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "This newest pest discovery is a significant accomplishment as well as a sobering warning of potential agriculture threats."

CBP Agriculture Specialists work closely with the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine 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 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. In Fiscal Year 2011, approximately 470 pest interceptions daily were submitted to USDA at ports of entry.

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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017