SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – An entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed recently that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists made a first in port discovery of an insect within an imported air cargo shipment of cut flowers arriving from Bogota, Colombia.
On Oct. 7, CBP Agriculture Specialists at San Juan Airport Cargo intercepted an insect on a shipment of cut flowers originating from Colombia. This insect was identified on October 12 by USDA-Plant Protection & Quarantine (PPQ) as Guayaquila pallescens Stal (Membracidae) which is an actionable pest and a “first time in port” interception.
“I would like to recognize the outstanding work that Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Field Office perform daily,” said Mayra Claudio, San Juan Assistant Area Port Director for Trade. “These discoveries are a significant accomplishment, as well as a sobering warning of potential agricultural threats.”
The Membracidae is a family of insects found worldwide, commonly called treehoppers or thorn bugs. Insects in the genus Guayaquilla and its relatives are gregarious, forming primitive social groups and caring for their young, which may result in high numbers on a host. The plant bug intercepted, Guayaquila pallescens, is the first of its species intercepted in Puerto Rico.
In these cases, CBP issues an emergency action notification to the importer requiring the shipment to be re-exported, fumigated or destroyed. This shipment was safeguarded and transferred for destruction.
CBP Agriculture Specialists work closely with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to protect the Nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
CBP Agriculture Specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Their duties include inspecting tens of thousands of international air passengers and air and sea cargo that arrive into the United States each day and intercepting numerous actionable pests, or those identified through scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of U.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.