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Moth Larvae Found During Inspection by Agriculture Specialists at Orlando International Airport

Release Date: 
September 8, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists at Orlando International Airport seized Brazilian pine seeds called “pinhao” from a passenger arriving from Brazil after discovering several moth larvae during an inspection of the seeds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) identified the larvae as Cydia araucariae, a pest of quarantine significance.

Moth larvae discovered at Orlando International Airport.

Moth larvae discovered at Orlando International Airport.

A family from Brazil was referred to agriculture secondary for inspection after an X-ray revealed anomalies. Upon inspection of the baggage, CBP agriculture specialists discovered Brazilian pine seeds, which are a winter snack in Brazil. The plastic bag containing the pinhao had frass, and additional scrutiny yielded several larvae. The USDA has confirmed that this marks a first-in-port finding for CBP in Orlando.

The economic importance of this insect is due to damage caused in the larval stage to agricultural crops, specifically fruits and nuts.  If established in the United States, this species of moth could cause significant damage to the orchard industry, especially in California where 80% of the world’s almond crop is produced.

“CBP has a highly trained and skillful workforce of agriculture specialists," said Orlando International Airport Port Director Eduardo Oliveros."They are well educated in the biological sciences and are our first line of defense against potential threats to U.S. agriculture resources.”

Each year, CBP agriculture specialists intercept thousands of “actionable pests” – those identified through scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of U.S. agricultural resources. On a typical day in Fiscal Year 2014, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 425 pests and 4,447 plant pests.

Learn more about the 'Don't Pack a Pest' campaign and the risks associated with passengers potentially introducing pests and diseases into the United States.

For more on CBP operations in Florida, connect with us at @CBPFlorida on Twitter.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017