WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Port of Norfolk have made a first in the nation pest interception of the moth Autophila ligaminosa.
On March 17, a U.S. military cargo flight arrived at Naval Station Norfolk from Afghanistan carrying military cargo. During the inspection, a single adult Lepidoptera was intercepted from a cargo container. The CBP agricultural specialist submitted the specimen to a Plant Protection Quarantine Entomologist, who identified the pest as Autophila ligaminosa (an overwintering adult male) a member of the Noctuidae family. This species is typically found from the Near East and Middle East to south-eastern Russia, including the Balkans, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
The crew and passengers exited the aircraft and the hatch was closed. The shipment was treated prior to release. While this particular interception was a male and could not lay eggs, moth larvae are especially harmful as they feed off of the leaves of plants and trees and could have disastrous results if introduced into a new environment.
"Protecting America's agriculture industry is an enormous responsibility and Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists take their job very seriously. Pest interceptions, such as this one, emphasize the importance of their efforts," said Mark Laria CBP Field Operations area port director in Norfolk. "First-in-Nation pest discoveries are particularly noteworthy because it provides a real sample for future identification efforts and provides a glimpse into possible pathways to the U.S."
CBP Field Operations agriculture specialists protect the United States from the threat of invasive pests and diseases through inspection, detection, and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the country.
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.