BROWNSVILLE, Texas – An agriculture specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations at the Veterans International Bridge import cargo lot intercepted a “First in Port” pest in a shipment of eucalyptus branches.
“Our CBP agriculture specialists play an important and challenging role in protecting American agriculture,” said Port Director Petra Horne, Brownsville Port of Entry. “The outstanding interception of this invasive pest, for the first time at the Port of Brownsville, exemplifies the diligence and dedication of our CBP agriculture specialists in safeguarding the agriculture of the United States.”
The interception occurred on April 13, at the Veterans International Bridge import lot when a shipment of cut flowers was referred to agriculture for inspection. Upon inspection of the flowers, a CBP agriculture specialist intercepted several specimens of the pest from a bundle of eucalyptus branches imported as cut flowers. The pest was submitted for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who identified it as Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Carpintero & Dellapé), an actionable pest. On April 20, 2017, identifiers with USDA Plant Inspection Station, confirmed the interception of Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Carpintero & Dellapé), as a first time interception at the Port of Brownsville.
Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Carpintero & Dellapé), a pest in the Hemiptera family, it is not known to occur in the United States. These sap-sucking insects, commonly known as true bugs, feed on several species of plants, including eucalyptus. Many true bugs are serious pests of cultivated plants and its presence may have an economic impact in the nursery stock industry. Given the quarantine status of Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Carpintero & Dellapé), the shipment of cut flowers was re-exported to Mexico as a precautionary measure.
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.