Houston - U.S. Customs and Border Protection learned that two insects collected during separate examinations have never before been intercepted or reported in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"The meticulous examination of produce and other agriculture-related commodities is vitally important to the protection of our own crops and agriculture industry," said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., CBP Houston field operations director. "Our agriculture specialists are diligent in their examinations, carefully combing through leaves, stems, and produce parts searching for any microscopic movement or debris that if allowed to enter could devastate our farms and forests."
On March 8, CBP agriculture specialists collected 10 wood-boring beetles from wood packing material associated with cargo arriving to Houston. The pests were sent to USDA for identification and they determined that one species of beetle, the Brachytemnus porcatus, had never before been intercepted or recorded as being in the U.S.
The Brachytemnus porcatus is a member of the Curculionidae family. As a safeguard, the wood packing material and its associated cargo were fumigated and re-exported to Italy.
In a separate incident, a tiny bug measuring less than 11 mm was found among a shipment of pineapples arriving from Costa Rica to Freeport, Texas. This pest, a Neuroctenus longiventris Kormilev, was collected and digital images sent to USDA for identification. It was confirmed, March 4 that this interception is also the first such occurrence for this insect in the country.
The Neuroctenus longiventris is of the Aradidae family and is considered a serious agricultural plant pest. The pineapples were fumigated and allowed entry to the U.S.
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.