Baltimore - A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Port of Baltimore seaport made a first in nation pest discovery when they intercepted an insect, Brachytarsus sp., or bruchid beetle, while inspecting a shipment of corn from Argentina on Oct. 26.
Bruchid beetles could pose a significant agriculture threat because their larvae can tunnel into the developing seeds of bean and corn crops. The larvae pupate in the seed and when fully mature the adults hatch and bite through the wall of the seed leaving characteristic circular exit holes.
"CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously," said Ricardo Scheller, CBP port director for the Port of Baltimore. "This is another example of our agriculture specialist performing a thorough inspection and finding a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry."
The beetles were discovered in an eight container 315,898 pound shipment of corn from Argentina. CBP forwarded specimens of the beetle to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification. CBP agriculture specialists have subsequently found bruchid beetles in two other containers. All eight containers will be inspected for pest infestation.
CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported or destroyed. The importer has yet to make a decision.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA's, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation's agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, please visit the USDA Web site.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 470 insect pests.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the CBP Web site.
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.