CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists stationed at the Corpus Christi seaport intercepted 25 live eggs within three Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses aboard a vessel on April 22.
"These interceptions are significant as an introduction into the U.S. and pose a major threat to the landscape of America," said Area Port Director Larry Fluty. "CBP agriculture specialists play a critical role in protecting the U.S. agriculture industry by preventing the introduction of harmful plant pests like this one into the country."
The Asian Gypsy Moth is a pest that feeds on plants and trees and has the potential to devastate America's agriculture production and forest resources. If established in the United States, each female could lay egg masses that in turn could yield hundreds of voracious caterpillars with appetites which would consume more than 500 species of trees and shrubs.
The three egg masses were found aboard the vessel Zebra Wind arriving directly from Port Rhoades, Jamaica and with prior port of calls in Japan and South Korea. The egg masses were found on the second deck of the vessel near its crane and bow.
CBP agriculture specialists submitted a sample specimen of the egg masses to the local U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist for identification and learned on April 25, that the egg masses were in fact Lymantria dispar asiatica, Vnukovskij, which is the scientific name for Asian Gypsy Moth.
All egg masses were removed and affected areas were treated to exterminate any remaining eggs.
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.