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First Nationwide Pest Interception by Agriculture Specialists

Release Date: 
March 30, 2011

Miami - A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist from Miami International Airport stopped a destructive pest, on Feb. 24 during the inspection process of an air cargo shipping container of fresh basil that arrived from Colombia.

First Nationwide Pest-Leafhopper

The CBP agriculture specialist sent the pest to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for identification. The Plant Protection and Quarantine division of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service identified the pest as Scaphytopius oinomaoss Linnavuori, (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae); commonly known as a leafhopper and confirmed that this is the first time this species has been intercepted nationwide.

According to information provided by the USDA, little is known about the biology of this species, but in the U.S. other species Scaphytopius are vectors of plant disease agents.

In this instance, when a container of produce is found with a pest that requires the shipper to take action, they are given the option to: return the shipment to the country of origin, treat the produce to ensure that there are no pests, or destroy the shipment. In this case, the company chose to fumigate the shipment.

"South Florida serves as a potential pathway for the entry of devastating exotic agricultural pests and diseases," said Greg McCann, acting CBP director of field operations for the Miami field office. "CBP agriculture specialists work diligently to safeguard American agriculture by preventing the introduction of harmful pest, plant and animal diseases from entering our country."

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 U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017