HOUSTON—A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialist discovered an insect among a shipment of tiles imported from Italy arriving to Bayport terminal. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, entomologists have never sighted this pest, Stictopleurus abutilon, Rossi, in the United States before this interception.
"CBP agriculture specialists are actively searching for harmful pests and plant diseases that could harm our agriculture industry," said Houston's Acting Director of Field Operations Lynn Fallik. "Interceptions such as this are important to protecting our plants, crops, and other agricultural resources."
The specimen was collected December 14 and sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection Station. The specimen was subsequently forwarded to the Systemic Entomological Laboratory at the Smithsonian Museum for final identification.
The laboratory confirmed January 8 that before this specimen was collected, this insect had never been sighted in the United States, and no other interceptions of this pest were found in the database between 1984 to date before this specimen was collected.
The shipment of tiles was fumigated and released.
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.