CBP Agriculture Specialists Detect Two Destructive Pests in South Florida
Miami, Florida - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists (CBPAS) at two south Florida ports of entry recently intercepted two destructive pests within commercial produce shipments.
"Our nation's food supply is constantly at risk from pests not known to occur in the U.S. These two significant pest interceptions by our CBPAS in Port Everglades and Miami International Airport exemplify CBP's continued commitment to safeguarding American agriculture," said Director, Field Operations Vernon Foret, Miami Field Office.
The more recent interception occurred in November 2014 at Port Everglades. A CBPAS conducting an intensive examination on a mixed commodity shipment from the Dominican Republic discovered a larva. After submission of the pest for identification at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Washington, it was confirmed that the pest is Helicoverpa sp. Later DNA sequencing identified the pest as Helicoverpa armigera, Old World Bollworm (OWB) a pest not known to occur in the U.S.
Given the pest finding, the shipment was detained for fumigation.
The other interception occurred in October 2014 at Miami International Airport. A CBPAS examining a commercial shipment of Jamaican green peppers from the Dominican Republic encountered a live larva. After an initial identification at the USDA Miami Plant Inspection Station, the pest was identified as Helicoverpa sp., and sent to a USDA lab in Washington for further analysis.
On December 19, the DNA sample of the insect was identified as Helicpverpa armigera Old World Bollworm (OWB). OWB is a moth of the Lepidoptera family, which feeds on over 180 species of wild and cultivated plants in more than 45 families.
In most places where OWB occurs, it is considered a severe economic pest. Dus to the pest discovery, CBP detained the shipment and referred it to USDA for fumigation.
Helicoverpa armigera is a pest of great significance commonly intercepted from Europe, Asia and Africa. This pest has been intercepted on multiple occasions from these regions. What makes these recent interceptions from the Caribbean significant, is that this serious pest is now in our part of the world and spreading closer to Florida.
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.