BALTIMORE—A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Wednesday that U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport discovered a new pest in the United States when they intercepted, Tetraleurodes andropogoni, a type of whitefly, while inspecting fresh leaves found inside of a traveler's luggage on March 10, 2013.
Whiteflies are usually found on the undersides of leaves and suck the sap out of plants. In addition, their secretions promote mold growth on the leaves, causing further damage.
"The importance of protecting America's agriculture industry cannot be overstated," said Ricardo Scheller, CBP Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. "CBP agriculture specialists are ever vigilant at detecting prohibited pests. This First in Nation discovery is both a significant accomplishment and a warning of a new potential agriculture threat."
The insects were discovered on fresh leaves being carried by a passenger originating from Nigeria and arriving from the United Kingdom. CBP seized the infested leaves and forwarded a specimen to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification. The remaining leaves were then destroyed by incineration.
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.
** Editor's Note: Please contact Robert Hunt at (410) 962-6200 x226 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a high resolution photo of the insect.
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.