U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

  1. Home
  2. Newsroom
  3. Local Media Release
  4. CBP Discovers Pesky Stowaways from Across the Globe

CBP Discovers Pesky Stowaways from Across the Globe

Release Date

Shipments ordered exported because wood boring pests found

HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists working at the Houston Seaport intercepted several timber pests in wood packaging material (WPM) from numerous shipments that arrived to the port on international vessels from March 5-12.

Wood boring larvae were found hidden in wood packag-
ing materials that were shipped on international vessels
March 5-12. 

Due to the potential for these timber pests to cause great damage to forests and trees, CBP ordered five shipments to be immediately exported without offloading its contents.

International cargo shipments infested with pests can pose a great threat to American agriculture and national forests, which is why CBP agriculture specialists carefully inspect a vessel and its shipments upon arrival to a port.

“Finding pests that are millimeters in size and that have bored into wood packaging material requires diligence, patience, experience and skill,” said Houston Area Port Director Roderick Hudson. “CBP agriculture specialists at the Houston Seaport take great pride in their work to protect the Nation’s agriculture and these discoveries illustrate that commitment.” 

The specimens were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and confirmed to be Scolytinae sp of., which are a type of small bark beetle, Siricidae, also known as wood wasps, Buprestis sp., jewel beetles, and Cerambycidae sp of. and Monochamus sp., which are longhorn beetles. 

pests in vials
CBP agriculture specialists made
one of nine different discoveries
of larvae while inspecting a
vessel in Houston.

CBP agriculture specialists made one of nine different discoveries during an inspection of a vessel bringing steel products when they uncovered wood boring larvae in the WPM used to secure cargo on the vessel.  The larvae specimens were forwarded to USDA and they identified the pests as Scolytinae sp of. 

CBP agriculture specialists also discovered pests in WPM used to brace shipments on vessels carrying marble tiles, windmill parts, and two separate shipments carrying transformer parts and carbon electrodes.  They also uncovered pests in wood cradles used to support cargo.  CBP ordered these shipments immediately exported without offloading any of its cargo. 

The unchecked spread of these wood boring pests could cause billions of dollars of damage to ornamental trees and forests and various American industries in addition to altering the ecological diversity of the natural forests in North America.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2019, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 314 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,695 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil.

  • Last Modified: February 3, 2021