Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a Light Brown Apple Moth, this insect has the potential to be the most destructive pest in the United States. The LBAM severely damages plants, trees and agriculture crops.
CBP agriculture specialists intercepted the insect while inspecting a shipment of blueberries from New Zealand. The insect was collected and sent to the USDA entomologist for identification. The USDA entomologist informed CBP the insect was actionable, meaning it poses a risk to the U.S. agriculture industry.
The LBAM has the potential to cause damage to a broad spectrum of agricultural crops, nursery products, and other plants. In California, more than 250 fruits and vegetables and more than 2,000 plant species are susceptible to the LBAM.
"Protecting our nation's agricultural supply is a very important mission at CBP. The interception of such a destructive pest reinforces the importance of our inspections at Los Angeles International Airport, where a large supply of fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers are imported daily," said Carlos C. Martel, area port director, Los Angeles International Airport.
CBP agriculture specialists immediately notified the importer of the findings and the importer was given the option of treatment, destruction or re-exporting. The importer opted for treatment and the blueberries were treated under USDA supervision.
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.