Brownsville, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Brownsville port of entry intercepted a significant pest found on a vessel, an Asian Gypsy Moth, previously found only once in Brownsville, Texas.
On August 25, CBP agriculture specialists boarded the vessel and discovered egg masses whose appearance was consistent with Asian Gypsy Moth. The egg masses were collected off surfaces of the vessel and transported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection Station at Los Indios, Texas for identification. The egg specimens were forwarded to the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection Laboratory in Otis, MA for molecular analysis. On August 30, the results provided by USDA confirmed the eggs as that of Asian Gypsy Moth.
This interception is only the third time Asian Gypsy Moth has been found in Texas during this fiscal year. This vessel is believed to have traveled to Brownsville from Manzanillo, Mexico and originated in Asia.
CBP agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry ensure that imports are free from insects, pests and plant diseases that could harm the agricultural products, plants and trees in the United States. Asian Gypsy Moth could be devastating to any plant or tree with leaves since it has no natural predators in this region. It could become prolific and cost millions of dollars and man-hours to eradicate.
"Protecting American agriculture on the frontlines is what CBP agriculture specialists are specially trained for. I applaud our agriculture team for their outstanding commitment in keeping pests and plant diseases from entering our country," said Michael T. Freeman, Port Director at CBP's Brownsville ports of entry.
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.