TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists working at Port Manatee discovered a strange pest on fresh rambutan fruit arriving in a shipment from Mexico on June 23.
The pest was identified as Ozophora consanquinea Distant (Rhyparochromidae) and is not known to occur in the United States. The rambutan fruit was comingled with bananas and mangosteen. The container with all commodities was re-exported to Mexico.
“Our CBP agriculture specialists are exceptionally skilled at identifying actionable plant pests and diseases," said Port Manatee Port Director Andrew Alexander. "They work quickly to identify any threats to our U.S. agriculture industry and take the necessary steps to prevent them from entering the United States.”
Insects in the Rhyparochromidae are a large family of true bugs in the Superfamily Lygaeoidea and are commonly known as seed bugs. Most species use their mouthparts to suck fluid from plants and seeds. They can be highly mobile and cause serious damage to grain crops.
Millions of pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, and other items enter the United States via commercial shipments from other countries every year. In Fiscal Year 2014, there were 66,857 reportable pest interceptions. To view CBP’s Agriculture Fact Sheet, click here.
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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.