PHARR, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations agriculture specialists at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility recently intercepted a pest determined to be a first in the nation discovery in a shipment of mixed vegetables.
“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 Efrain Solis, port director, 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.”
The interception occurred on August 29 when CBP agriculture specialists conducted an examination of a commercial shipment of mixed vegetables. During an examination of the produce, a CBP agriculture specialist discovered live insects on the chayote (pear-shaped squash). CBP submitted the pests for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist at the Plant Inspection Station in Los Indios, Texas. The initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist that the insect was Diabrotica scutellata (Jacoby), a first in the nation pest not known to exist in the U.S., also a quarantine significant pest. Diabrotica scutellata (Jacoby) belongs to the Chrysomelidae family. Members of this genus Diabrotica include several economically significant agricultural pest species some of which are destructive pests of corn.
Given the findings, CBP refused entry for the shipment and it was 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.