BALTIMORE—A national U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed on May 16, that the Callirhytis, sp., gall wasp was another first local discovery for Baltimore U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered the gall wasp on May 15, in a shipment of Italian ceramic tiles. These tiny wasps reportedly lay their eggs on the limbs of oak trees and their larvae cause galls that eventually may cause the stem to die from the gall outward.
Though widespread infestations are uncommon, severe gall wasp infestations have been observed in several Florida counties. These infestations are known to have affected young to mature trees in woodlands and residential areas.
"The threat of invasive hitchhiking insect pests is very real, and an extremely serious concern for United States' agriculture industries," said Ricardo Scheller Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. "One of Customs and Border Protection's priority missions is to intercept and eradicate potential agriculture threats at our nation's borders, and our agriculture specialists take their mission very seriously."
The previous Callirhytis, sp., gall wasp interception occurred in Santa Teresa, N.M. in 2011.
CBP submitted the specimen on May 16, to the local USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine entomologist for identification.
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.
Read more on the USDA APHIS PPQ program.
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 4,919 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 476 insect pests.
Read more about CBP agriculture specialists.
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.