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 another rare pest within a commercial shipment of fresh chayote squash.
“I commend our CBP agriculture specialists at the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry for detecting another possible harmful pest within just days apart,” said Acting Port Director Javier Cantu, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “The detection of these two first in the nation insects truly exemplifies our officers’ dedication to help safeguard the American agriculture industry.”
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.
In mid-June, a CBP officer referred a shipment of fresh chayote squash 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 by U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists, the insect was positively identified as Rhodobaenus nebulosus Champion (Dryophthoridae).
The insect was positively identified as being a unique interception within the United States, a first-in-the-nation detection. The shipment of fresh chayote squash was refused entry and returned to Mexico.
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.