HOUSTON -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Houston Seaport discovered live larvae in foreign cargo prompting orders to immediately reload the non-compliant dunnage aboard the vessels.
“Protecting our nation from harmful plant pests and exotic diseases that could cause great devastation to U.S. Agriculture is of great importance,” said Roderick W. Hudson, Houston/Galveston Area Port Director. “CBP agriculture specialists perform important work like this each and every day.”
Cargo on maritime vessels is often positioned in place by Wood Packaging Material (WPM), called “dunnage.” The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) requires that dunnage be fumigated or heat treated to prevent the infestation of wood-boring pests. CBP agriculture specialists located at the Port of Houston inspected dunnage on the two vessels loaded with steel/metal products and discovered live wood-boring larvae specimens.
One vessel arrived from Brazil, Sept. 16, with the dunnage bearing IPPC marks; however, upon inspection, CBP agriculture specialists discovered live insect specimens identified as Ips sp. (Curculionidae). These insects are commonly called snout beetles, which are wood-boring pests harmful to U.S. forests.
Several days later, CBP agriculture specialists discovered more live larvae specimens in IPPC-marked dunnage aboard a vessel carrying cargo from Russia and the Ukraine. These larvae specimens were identified as Cerambycidae sp. of. The members of the Cerambycidae family, commonly called longhorn beetles, lay their eggs in the crevices of bark. The larvae bore holes into the wood.
The infestation of wood-boring pests causes damage to trees, making them susceptible to disease and ultimately causing death. These imported wood-boring pests could affect neighborhood trees, wildlife habitat, and forestry. While the dunnage was required to be reloaded onto the vessels, the imported goods were allowed to be entered into the U.S.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2016, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 404 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,638 materials for quarantine: plant, meat, animal byproduct, and soil.
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.