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CBP Intercepts "First in Nation" Pest

Release Date: 
February 8, 2011

Miami - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport stopped a new species of destructive beetle, never before seen in the United States, from entering the country.

On Jan. 16, a shipment of boxes containing Aster cut flowers from Ecuador arrived at Miami International Airport. During the inspection process, a CBP agriculture specialist spotted a live beetle inside one of the boxes containing the cut flowers.

The CBP agriculture specialist sent the beetle to the USDA Miami Plant Inspection Station for identification and was later identified by a national entomology specialist, as Alcathousites sp. and confirmed that it was the first recorded interception of this particular insect anywhere in the U.S.

Seized Beetle

Alcathousites belong to the largest subfamily of long-horned beetles, the lamiines. The beetle belongs to a family of insects that can be potentially destructive agricultural pests. They attack a wide range of living and dead trees, shrubs and woody plants. The larvae will bore within stems of herbaceous plants.

An example of another highly destructive pest belonging to the same subfamily, is the Asian Longhorned Beetle which has caused significant damage to North American trees such as; maples, box elder, horsechestnut, buckeye, elm, London plane, birch, and willow.

When a shipment is found with a pest that requires the shipper to take action, they are given the option to: return the shipment to the country of origin, treat the shipment to ensure that there are no pests, or destroy the shipment. In this case, the company chose to fumigate.

"Keeping this pest out of the nation saves the American agricultural industry from potential harm that this new insect could cause if it were to be established here in the U.S.," said Greg McCann, acting director of field operations for CBP in Miami. "By putting a stop to the bug, before they can enter the United States, CBP officers and agriculture specialists protect this vital American industry," added McCann.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017