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Baltimore CBP Makes Another 'New' Local Insect Discovery

Release Date: 
January 11, 2011

Baltimore - For the second time in a month, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered an insect pest new to Baltimore during an inspection of Italian ceramic tiles on Thursday.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed the weevil as a Dorytomus, also known as a Willow Weevil, a genus of plant-feeding weevil never before reported in Baltimore. CBP agriculture specialists also discovered a Holotrichapion pisi, also known as a Pea Weevil.

A USDA photo of a Dorytomus, aka the Willow Weevil.

CBP agriculture specialists discovered a Dorytomus, aka the Willow Weevil, during an inspection of Italian ceramic tiles In Baltimore Jan. 6, 2011. This is the first time a Dorytomus was discovered in the port of Baltimore.

Photo Credit:USDA APHIS

As with most beetles in the family Curculionidae or Apionidae, the Dorytomus' specialized snouts allow weevils to bore into and feed on various plant parts including, stems, leaves, fruits, seeds and nuts.

On Dec. 13, 2010, CBP discovered a Stenopterapion tenue, a little-known species of plant-feeding weevil also on Italian ceramic tiles. The USDA reported that it was the first discovery of such insect pest in Baltimore.

"It is very unique that a single Customs and Border Protection port may capture two new insect pest discoveries in such a short time, and on a single commodity, that it raises some concern for us," said CBP Baltimore Agriculture Supervisor David Ng. "CBP agriculture specialists remain determined to work with our trade partners and to take appropriate measures to mitigate any potential reoccurrence."

The Dorytomus arrived to Baltimore on Jan. 1. CBP agriculture specialists discovered it on Thursday and submitted it to the USDA entomologist on Friday.

CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification requiring the importer to fumigate the container.

"Weevils, if left unchecked, could have a profound impact on America's crop plant industries similarly to the impact cotton boll weevils have had on our nation's cotton industry," said Ng. "CBP agriculture specialists take very serious our mission of protecting American agriculture and each pest interception emphasizes the importance of our efforts."

According to Ng, the infamous cotton boll weevil, which infested nearly all of the nation's 16 million acres of cotton growing areas, cost the cotton industry an estimated $22 billion in cotton losses and pest eradication measures.

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 454 insect pests.

For more information on CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the CBP Web site.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017