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Philadelphia CBP Intercepts 5 Destructive Invaders Never Reported Before in US, Delaware Valley

Release Date: 
October 23, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed Thursday that five insect pests that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists intercepted recently in the Port of Philadelphia are significant interceptions, including an insect never recorded before in the United States, and four never seen before locally.

CBP intercepted the first-in-nation Steirastoma histrionica (Cerambycidae), a species of longhorned beetle, in a container of Costa Rica melons on March 17, 2014.

CBP submitted the pest to the local USDA entomologist who identified the species on September 21. Two days later, the entomologist advised CBP that the insect is a pest new to the United States. According to the USDA, longhorn beetles pose a significant threat to coniferous and deciduous forests and kills live trees.

CBP agriculture specialists inspect pineapples in this file photo.

CBP agriculture specialists inspect pineapples.

The four pests observed for the first time in the Delaware Valley include:

  • Paulinia (Acrididae), a species of grasshopper, discovered in Colombian pineapples on September 21. Species of Acrididae are major pests of praries primarily feeding off of grains, pasture and vegetable crops.
  • Donus zoilus (Curculionidae), a species of clover leaf weevil, discovered in Costa Rica pineapples on September 15. Clover leaf beetles are considered serious agricultural pests of clover and alfalfa.
  • Limnobaris calandriformis (Cucurlionidae), a species of true weevils, discovered in Costa Rica pineapples on September 15. True Weevils, are serious pests of palms and have been suggested as a possible vector of red-ring disease, an important disease of oil palms.
  • Parandra (Cerambycidae), a species of wood borers, discovered in wood dunnage supporting steel coils and steel plates from Brazil on May 20. The USDA confirms only two previous interceptions in the U.S. of Parandra – in 2003 and 2007. Wood boring members of the family Cerambycidae, are known as major agricultural pests of coniferous and deciduous forests worldwide; attacking and killing live trees.

The shipment of Costa Rica melons and Brazilian steel were re-exported. The three pineapple shipments were fumigated and released to distributors in Florida.

“Intercepting these destructive insect invaders at our nation’s borders before they can threaten our agriculture industries is of paramount importance to Customs and Border Protection,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP agriculture specialists take their job very serious, and recording these ‘first in nation’ and ‘first in port’ insect interceptions are significant discoveries.”

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences, risk analysis, and in imported agriculture inspection techniques. CBP agriculture specialists are the first line of defense in the protection of U.S. agriculture, forest and livestock industries from exotic destructive plant pests and animal diseases.

On a typical day nationally, CBP agriculture specialists inspect over 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,447 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 425 agriculture pests and diseases. Read more about CBP’s agriculture protection mission.

CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, unreported currency, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items. View CBP’s ‘Typical Day’ enforcement stats at CBP Snapshot.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017