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Philadelphia CBP Intercepts Another Destructive Insect New to the United States

Release Date: 
July 2, 2015

Discovery Comes Three Weeks after Two Other National Firsts for Philadelphia CBP

PHILADELPHIA – About three weeks after intercepting two first in nation insect pests, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Philadelphia discovered another one, so says the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) national entomologist today.

CBP discovered an Ozodes multituberculatus (Cerambycidae), a species of longhorn beetle, in a shipment of Costa Rican pineapples, June 4. CBP submitted the specimen to a local USDA entomologist who verified the identification and suggested the discovery to be the nation’s first reported interception of this longhorn beetle species. Longhorn beetles are major agricultural pests and are threats to coniferous and deciduous forests worldwide.

CBP then intercepted a Hoplandrothrips erythrinae (Priesner), a species of thrip, in a shipment of Colombian plantains June 9. The local USDA entomologist verified the insect’s identification and suggested it to be the first reported encounter of this thrip species in the Delaware Valley region. Thrips cause damage to plants by sucking out plant juices resulting, in discoloration and scarring of leaves, flowers, and fruit. Thrips are vectors of plant pathogens and viruses.

CBP submitted the claims to the USDA national pest identification database which verified their status as national and the local firsts.

“Protecting America’s agriculture against destructive insect pests is of paramount importance to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and continuing to intercept first-in-nation pests is concerning,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP agriculture specialists are very serious about their mission, and quietly carry out their important work every day.”

Both shipments were destined to Florida.

In May, CBP agriculture specialists in Philadelphia intercepted two first-in-nation and two first-in-port insect pests, also discovered on Costa Rican pineapples and Colombian plantains. Read about those interceptions here.

Invasive species in general cause an estimated $136 billion in lost agriculture revenue annually. Visit USDA National Invasive Species for more information on invasive threats to U.S. agriculture.

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, they 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.

Please visit CBP’s Agriculture Protection webpage to learn how CBP safeguards our nation’s economy by protecting our agriculture industries.

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plants, plant pests, and animal diseases.

Read more about the USDA’s APHIS, PPQ program.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017