PHARR, Texas –Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry have intercepted two more rare, first in the nation pests in rapid succession, this time within commercial shipments of fresh papayas and limes.
“These interceptions of more unique bugs at our commercial crossing in Pharr truly exemplifies the unparalleled commitment by our agriculture specialists in keeping harmful pests from possibly having devastating effects on the American agriculture industry,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.
In August, a CBP officer referred a shipment of fresh papayas that arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility for a secondary agriculture inspection. During the inspection of the product and the container, a CBP agriculture specialist observed a live insect on the floor of the commercial trailer. Upon closer examination of the specimen byU.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists, the insect was positively identified as Derobrachus inaequalis (Cerambycidae). The insect was positively identified as being a unique interception within the United States, a first-in-the-nation detection. The shipment of fresh papayas was refused entry and returned to Mexico.
Only days apart, CBP agriculture specialists at the Pharr, Texas cargo facility intercepted another significant pest within a shipment of fresh limes, which was also positively identified by USDA entomologists as a unique find, never seen in the U.S. The discovery of the insect identified as Eusattus venosus Champion (Tenebrionidae) resulted in the shipment also being refused entry and returned back to Mexico.
Both insects are members of families that include plant pests. While some Cerambycidae species (also called longhorn beetles due to the size of their antenna) may cause extensive damage to living trees and untreated wood, various Tenebrionidae species are known to be grain pests.
CBP agriculture specialists safeguard American agriculture by detecting and preventing entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm agricultural resources.
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.