SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas holiday celebration in the World. Therefore, fresh cut Christmas trees must last from November well into mid-January.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialist inspect thousands of fresh cut Christmas trees, which are imported from Canada, from October well into December each year.
For local consumers to enjoy this holiday tradition, CBP Agricultural Specialists conducts visual and physical inspection of pine tree conveyances using a wide array technologies and techniques.
The Port of San Juan received 34,850 imported trees with a value of more than $700,000.
Tree shipments must comply with requirements from the US Department of Agriculture, which may entail that they be treated to remove harmful insects, diseases or pest that can spread and contaminate other trees or crops.
“Agricultural items can harbor plant pests and foreign animal diseases that could seriously damage our regional crops, livestock, and the environment – and a large sector of our country’s economy,” indicated Edwin Cruz, San Juan Area Port Director.
During this holiday season CBP Agricultural Specialists intercepted actionable insects such as the Altica sp. (Chrysomelidae), Aphalara cathae (Linnaeus), Arion sp. (Arionidae), Caloptilla sp. (Gracillariidae), Cepaea sp. (Helicidae), Cinara sp. (Aphididae), Deroceras reticulatum (Muller), Galerucini Hylobius sp. (Curculionidae), Hylobius sp. (Curculionidae), Insecta Otiohynchus singularia (Linnaeus), Paria sp. (Chrysomelidae), Pubillia sp. (Membracidae), Pyrrharctia Isabella (Erebidae), and Xyleborus sp. (Curculionidae).
CBP Agriculture Specialists are trained to safeguard American agriculture while facilitating legitimate trade and travel. Providing a critical role in the Department of Homeland Security, CBP agriculture specialists possess specialized skill sets they use to prevent the introduction of harmful exotic plant pests and foreign animal diseases, and potential ag/bio-terrorism into the United States.