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Los Angeles CBP Intercepts 'First in the Nation' Destructive Pest from South Africa

Release Date: 
July 23, 2010

Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport, intercepted a "first in the nation" pest while inspecting a shipment of fresh cut flowers arriving from South Africa.

Actual picture of the aphid Toxoptera odinae intercepected by agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport. Image provided by Patrick Marquez

Actual picture of the aphid Toxoptera odinae intercepected by agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport. Image provided by Patrick Marquez

The pest was identified by U.S. Department of Agriculture as Toxoptera odinae Van Der Goot, an insect from the aphids group, never seen before in the United States. Aphids attack grains crops, fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants causing plant deformities, scarring and loss of crops.

"Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists have a critical mission to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases from entering the country," said Carlos C. Martel CBP acting director of field operations, Los Angeles. "We take an aggressive approach in detecting and stopping threats to American agriculture.

The pest was stopped at the port of entry, destroyed and prevented from establishing in the United States. On a typical day in fiscal year 2009, CBP intercepted 454 pests and seized 4,291 prohibited plant, meat and animal byproducts.

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017