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Buffalo CBP Agriculture Specialists Stop Four Significant Pests Including a First in Port and a Federal Noxious Weed

Release Date: 
October 23, 2014

LEWISTON, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists working at the Lewiston Bridge, in the past two weeks, have intercepted three significant pests including a first in port and one Federal Noxious Weed seed from entering the country and potentially causing damage to our agriculture industry. 

On October 11, 2014 a shipment of lumber from Sri Lanka arrived at the Lewiston Bridge and was referred for further examination.  During a physical inspection of the commodity, CBP Agriculture Specialists discovered a shipment of playground equipment within wooden crates from the Czech Republic.  Inspection of the wooden crates yielded a live Lepidoptera larva.  On October 15, a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) entomologist identified the pest as Pyraustinae, species of (Crambidae), which is a type of moth.

Lepidoptera found in October 11 shipment

Lepidoptera found in October 11 shipment

On October 14, a maritime container from China containing a shipment of medical masks and gowns was stopped for inspection.  CBP Agriculture Specialists examining the container discovered one live snail on the exterior of the container.  The container was held pending identification of the pest.  On October 15, a USDA entomologist identified the pest as a Bradybaenidae, spSnails in the family Bradybaenidae can be serious crop pests of citrus, grapes, legumes, and cabbage.  These snails are particularly damaging because they feed on live plants instead of decaying leaf litter like many other snails.  This is the first intercept of this type of pest in the Port of Buffalo. 

On October 14, 2014, a maritime container with stainless steel wires from Taiwan was referred for physical exam. During the exam Agriculture Specialists discovered seeds between pallets in the middle of the container.  The seeds were forwarded to a USDA Botanist for urgent identification. On October 15, 2014, final identification was received as Imperata cylindrica (Linnaeus) Palisot de Beauvois (Poaceae).  This seed, also known as Cogongrass, is a very invasive Federal Noxious Weed species which has the potential to cause damage to forests and wildlife habitats, and increases the severity of wildfires due to its’ high flammability. Cogongrass is native to India, Micronesia, Australia, and parts of Asia and Africa.

On October 15, 2014 a maritime container of valves from China was referred for examination. During physical inspection of the commodity, CBP agriculture specialists discovered insects on top of the plastic wrap of the freight. The Buffalo USDA Entomologist was contacted and two specimens were turned over for identification. The sea container was sealed and put on hold.  On October 16, 2014, identification of the live pests was received as Aleyrodinae sp and Tingidae sp, Aleyrodinae sp. is considered to be an important pest that feeds on the undersides of leaves, and can cause major crop losses through the spread of disease. Tingidae sp. is a plant pest that causes destruction through its sap sucking behavior.

Bradybaenidae found in a October 14 shipment

Bradybaenidae found in a October 14 shipment

All shipments were re-exported to Canada.

“Intercepting these pests and noxious weeds protects the Nation’s agriculture industry from the expense of eradication and the hardship of finding their crops damaged by invasive pests,” said Randy Howe, Director of Field Operations for the CBP Buffalo Field Office.  “Stopping invasive pests before the can enter the United States is a vital role CBP Agriculture Specialists play.”

Agriculture Specialists protect the United States from the threat of invasive plant pests and foreign animal diseases with inspection and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the United States. These items, whether in commercial cargo or with a person entering the country, could cause serious damage to America’s crops, livestock, environment and potentially public health.

CBP Agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agriculture inspection.  Please visit http://www.cbp.gov/border-security/protecting-agriculture for more information about CBP’s mission to protect the nation’s agriculture industry.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017