** Editor's Note: Please contact Steve Sapp at (215) 594-4117 or Stephen.Sapp@cbp.dhs.gov for photos of the Stenopterapion tenue insect pest discovery.
Baltimore - An insect that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Baltimore discovered last Monday was reported today to be a new insect discovery for the Port of Baltimore.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered what was initially identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist last Tuesday as a Stenopterapion tenue, a little-known species of wood-boring weevil.
The USDA, after a thorough search of their database, advised CBP today that there were nine previously recorded discoveries. The first was in Savannah, Ga., in 2005.
"A first insect pest discovery in our port brings equal parts celebration and concern," said CBP Baltimore Agriculture Supervisor David Ng. "CBP agriculture specialists take very serious our mission of protecting American agriculture and each pest interception is a little victory of sorts. A 'first discovery' also reinforces our determination to work with our import partners to take appropriate measures to mitigate any potential reoccurrence."
The weevil arrived Dec. 6 to the Baltimore seaport in a shipment of Italian tiles. CBP agriculture specialists discovered it last Monday and submitted the insect on Tuesday to the USDA entomologist for identification.
CBP agriculture specialists issued an Emergency Action Notification requiring the importer to fumigate the container and its contents.
Stenopterapion tenue is an insect known to exist in Europe, but not in the United States. Many weevils are damaging to crop plants.
"We don't know much about this particular species of weevil, but we do know that it isn't indigenous to the United States, and if left unchecked could have a profound impact on America's crop plant industries," said Ng.
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.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the following website:
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.