Discovery of Voracious Agriculture Pest 15th in Season
PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists stationed at the Portland, Oregon seaport intercepted three Asian gypsy moth (AGM) egg masses on October 19, 2020. Each of these masses can contain hundreds of eggs hatching this devastating plant pest. The interception marks the fifteenth discovery by Portland’s agriculture specialists of this year’s AGM season.
“This pest has the potential to decimate forest resources and agriculture production,” said Tyler Porter, Area Port Director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Portland. “CBP’s AGM interceptions positively impact both our forestry and tourism industries, helping our beautiful Oregon timbers and trails remain for all to enjoy.”
CBP agriculture specialists in Portland examined a foreign flag merchant vessel coming from an area with a high risk for AGM. During the deck sweep, the agriculture specialists discovered three suspected AGM egg masses on the underside vents of the superstructure of the vessel. The egg masses were removed and the site was treated with an organic pesticide used for controlling certain insect species. After a further intensive inspection, CBP at the Port of Portland determined that the AGM risk had been mitigated and the vessel was permitted to process the cargo.
CBP has taken a strategic, proactive approach to combat this threat. In 2019, CBP Agriculture interceptions of AGM were at an all-time high. AGM (Lymantria dispar) is a voracious pest that can eat the foliage of more than 500 different species of forest trees and other plants. This pest is of particular concern because AGM has the potential to spread quickly since the female moth can fly up to 25 miles. If established in the United States, AGM could decimate America’s forest resources and agriculture production.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.