San Francisco - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered Asian Gypsy Moth egg masses on two shipping containers on a vessel that arrived from China last week at the Oakland, Calif., seaport.
"This find showcases the diligent work that CBP agriculture specialists perform in keeping U.S. agriculture safe from foreign invasive pests" said CBP San Francisco Field Office Director of Field Operations Richard Vigna. "The discovery of this destructive forest pest is yet another remarkable accomplishment motivated by the CBP agriculture mission that aims to protect forest habitats in the U.S., and all of North America as well."
"Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the identification of recently intercepted insect eggs as Asian Gypsy Moth, a serious invasive pest. U.S.
Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists have likely saved taxpayers significant tax dollars and helped to protect America's environment from a potentially devastating pest with this interception," said United States Department of Agriculture spokesperson Larry Hawkins.
The Asian Gypsy Moth is not native to the United States. According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, each AGM female could lay egg masses that in turn could yield hundreds of voracious caterpillars with appetites for more than 500 species of trees and shrubs.
CBP agriculture specialists inspect imported goods and conveyances arriving from foreign at U.S. ports of entry while preventing the introduction of harmful pests and diseases to America's agricultural resources. On a typical day in 2009, CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 4,291 prohibited plants, meat and animal byproducts and intercepted 454 agricultural pests that could potentially harm America's agricultural resources.
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.