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CBP Agriculture Specialists in Pharr Intercept Rare Pest, a First in the Nation Discovery in Produce Shipment

Release Date: 
October 3, 2019

PHARR, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry discovered a rare pest, a first in nation discovery, in a shipment of prickly pear pads. 

“Our CBP agriculture specialists are to be commended for their tenacity and attention to detail which resulted in the discovery of a first in the nation pest,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.  “By intercepting these exotic pests, our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and contribute to the nation’s economic security by denying entry to invasive species not known to exist in the U.S.”

A specimen of Dysschema mariamne Warren (Erebidae) a first in nation pest discovered by CBP agriculture specialists at Pharr International Bridge
A specimen of Dysschema mariamne Warren
(Erebidae), a first in nation pest encountered
by CBP agriculture specialists at Pharr
International Bridge.

On Sep. 28, CBP agriculture specialists at the Pharr cargo facility conducted an inspection on a commercial shipment of prickly pear pads arriving from Mexico, which resulted in the discovery of a live pest. The insect was submitted for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory and the initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist as Dysschema mariamne  Warren (Erebidae). According to USDA entomologists, this pest has never been found at any of the nation’s ports of entry. CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it back to Mexico. 

The interception is an example of the diligent work CBP agriculture specialists do on a daily basis to fulfill CBP’s agriculture mission, which is crucial in preventing foreign pests from establishing in the United States.  Pests that are not known to occur in the U.S. may be detrimental to the nation’s agriculture industry. 

More information regarding CBP’s agriculture inspection mission may be found at this link.

Last modified: 
October 4, 2019