New Orleans - Customs and Border Protection officers in the Port of New Orleans found Asian Gypsy Moth egg mass in a shipment inbound from Russia. AGM, named for its home continent, is a voracious pest of trees that poses a major threat to forest habitats in North America. If established in the United States, each AGM female could lay egg masses that in turn could yield hundreds of caterpillars with appetites for more than 500 species of trees and shrubs.
Officers in the targeting unit selected a seaport shipment of ceramic sand used in the oil drilling industry for agricultural inspection. Upon arrival, agriculture specialists examined several containers and discovered an egg mass that was suspected of being Asian Gypsy Moth or Lymantria dispar.
The infested wood pallet where the mass was found was treated with golden pest spray oil. Quick-acting specialists sent photos to the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine Laboratory for confirmation of their initial analysis.
That confirmation came swiftly and the shipment, consisting of 39 containers, is set for re-exportation. "The CBP agriculture specialists at U.S. ports of entry, detect, intercept, and thereby prevent the entry of potential threats such as this invasive species before they have a chance to do any harm that could seriously threaten U.S. agriculture, our natural resources and our economy," said Robert C. Gomez, director of field operations for the CBP New Orleans Field Office.
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.