Baltimore - A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Wednesday that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport discovered a new pest in the Baltimore area when they intercepted fly pupae of, Paraleyrodes bondari, or Nesting Whitefly while inspecting leaves found inside of a travelers luggage on June 3.
According to USDA, Nesting Whiteflies could pose a significant agriculture threat because they can seriously injure host crop plants. Their needle-like mouths suck nutrients from the plant and cause wilting, yellowing, stunting of growth, leaf drop, and even death.
"CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously," said Jonathan Mobley, Acting 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 fly pupae were discovered on Bitter leaves being carried by a passenger from Nigeria via London. CBP seized the contaminated Bitter leaves and forwarded specimens of the pupae to a USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist for identification. The remaining Bitter leaves were then destroyed by incineration.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA's APHIS and PPQ 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 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.
For more on the USDA APHIS and PPQ program, please visit the APHIS website.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the Agriculture page.
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.