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CBP Intercepts New Pests at Philadelphia Seaport

Release Date: 
July 29, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed Wednesday that a type of shield bug that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered inside a shipment of pineapples is the first recorded find of this pest in the United States.  USDA also confirmed that a type of moth CBP agriculture specialists discovered inside a shipment of kiwi fruit is the first recorded find of this pest in the Philadelphia area.

CBP discovered the shield bug June 6 in a 30,241 case shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica.  CBP secured the shipment for fumigation, and submitted the pest specimen to the local USDA entomologist for identification. The entomologist identified the species as Brachyplatys subaeneus Westwood, known to occur in Asia, and advised CBP that the insect is a pest new to the United States.

CBP also discovered the moth June 6 in a 3,600 case shipment of kiwi fruit from New Zealand.  CBP secured the shipment for fumigation, and submitted the pest specimen to the local USDA entomologist for identification.  The entomologist identified the species as Thysanoplusia orichalcea (Fabricius), known to occur in Borneo, India, New Zealand, Spain, West Africa, and Australia, and advised CBP that the insect is a pest new to the Philadelphia area.

Both pests could pose a significant threat to the U.S. agriculture industry as they can feed on various crops thereby reducing quality and yield. 

“Intercepting destructive insect invaders at our nation’s borders, and before they can threaten our agriculture industries, is of great importance to Customs and Border Protection,” said Margaret Braunstein, CBP Area Port Director (Acting) for the Port of Philadelphia.  “CBP agriculture specialists take their job very seriously, and recording these ‘first in nation’ and ‘first in port’ insect interceptions are significant discoveries.”

In this file photo, CBP inspects a container of produce.
In this file photo, CBP inspects a container of produce.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis, and in the agriculture inspection techniques for imports.  CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense in the protection of U.S. agriculture, forest, and livestock industries from exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.

On a typical day nationally, CBP agriculture specialists inspect over 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,548 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 470 agriculture pests and diseases.  Read more about CBP’s agriculture protection mission.

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, unreported currency, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items.  To read more about CBP click CBP Snapshot.    

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017