FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Port Everglades discovered an unwanted alien hitching a ride in a shipment of Travertine tile in a container arriving from Turkey.
While conducting an inspection of the container on December 20, agriculture specialists found the adult insect, which was later identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist as a Eurygaster maura Linnaeus. The USDA, after a search of their database confirmed that it is the first time this particular species has been intercepted at Port Everglades.
Eurygaster maura is a species of shield bug commonly known as wheat bug within the family Scutelleridae and are not known to occur in North America. Knowledge of this insect's biology and damages it could cause is very limited, although it is known to be a pest of major agricultural crops such as corn, wheat, rice and barley.
CBP agriculture specialists issued an Emergency Action Notification requiring the importer to fumigate the container and its contents.
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations in Miami is actively engaged in all aspects of our mission to protect the homeland. Our agriculture specialists ensure that invasive species that could cause irreparable harm to this country's diverse agricultural and natural resources do not have the opportunity to enter and become established," stated Greg McCann, acting director of field operations for CBP in Miami.
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.