Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted a "First in the Nation" destructive pest, this time on a shipment of fresh pineapples arriving from Costa Rica in a sea container.
On August 24, agriculture specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport discovered the live specimen while conducting an inspection of a shipment of perishable pineapples. On August 26, entomologists from the United States Department of Agriculture identified the insect as Acrogonia nigriceps (Cicadellidae) and confirmed that the insect was a "First in the Nation", a new pest never seen before in the United States.
Any insects from the Cicadellidae family, commonly known as leafhoppers, are significant pests in agriculture. They can cause severe damage and decrease yields on numerous cash crops including, grapes, potatoes, soybean and corn.
"CBP's agriculture specialists play a critical role in safeguarding the U.S. agriculture industry and the nation's economy. This discovery attests to their expertise in detecting and preventing harmful pests from being introduced into the United States," said Carlos Martel CBP acting director of field operations in Los Angeles.
This is the second "First in the Nation" interception in the last two months for CBP Los Angeles. On June 28, CBP agriculture specialists at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) discovered a "First in the Nation" specimen from the Aphids family while inspecting a shipment of fresh cut flowers arriving from South Africa.
In fiscal year 2009, agriculture specialists seized more than 1.5 million prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 166,727 agricultural pests at ports of entry.
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.