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CBP Discovers Destructive Wireworm on Imported Taro

Release Date: 
October 9, 2014

First Time Interception of Click Beetle Larvae at the Port of Honolulu

HONOLULU— U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists (CBPAS) working at Honolulu seaport discovered live wireworms while inspecting a shipment of pink taro from Fiji. The insects were found crawling on the crown of one of the tubers.

Wireworm Discovered in shiptment of Taro

Wireworm Discovered in shipment of Taro

The shipment of taro, weighing close to 19,000 pounds, was immediately placed on hold until the pest could be positively identified. Some of the larvae were collected and submitted to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Inspection Station in Honolulu.

USDA confirmed that the specimen was the larvae of Agriotes sp. (Elateridae), commonly known as the click beetle. The beetle larvae, called “wireworms”, feed on seeds, seedlings, and the underground portions of a wide variety of agriculture products. They can be particularly harmful to edible root plants, such as taro.

Shipment of Taro from Fiji

Shipment of Taro from Fiji

“The interception of these potentially harmful insects is just one example of the work our CBP agriculture specialists do every day,” said Bruce Murley, CBP’s Honolulu Port Director. 

Due to the potentially destructive nature of the pest, CBP refused entry of the shipment and ordered it to be re-exported. 

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017