Philadelphia CBP Intercepts Three First in Port Pests
PHILADELPHIA – A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Monday that U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists recently discovered three new pests in the Philadelphia area.
The first two discoveries came on June 23 at the Pier 82 Warehouse in the Philadelphia Seaport when CBP agriculture specialists found Synchlora sp. (Geometridae), a type of moth, while inspecting a shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica and Rhyssomatus strangulatus (Curculionidae), a type of weevil, while inspecting another shipment of pineapples that came from Columbia. The third discovery came on July 10 at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal when CBP agriculture specialists found Brachypnoea sp. (Chrysomelidae), a type of beetle, while inspecting a shipment of avocados from Peru.
The Lepidoptera family Geometridae contains over 35,000 species of moths and butterflies that can cause significant damage to leafy crops, perennials, trees and shrubs. Weevils belonging to the genus Rhyssomatus are known as agricultural pests of grape vines, sweet potatoes, and other plants. Beetles of the family Chrysomelidae, or Leaf Beetles, are considered agricultural pests with the potential to cause significant damage to native and cultivated plants.
“Intercepting destructive insect pests at our nation’s borders is of paramount concern to U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” said Susan Stranieri, CBP Area Port Director for Philadelphia. “CBP agriculture specialists are very serious about protecting America’s agriculture industry. They remain vigilant at intercepting invasive insect and plant species at our ports of entry.”
After discovery of the pests, CBP safeguarded each shipment and forwarded the specimens to USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) for identification. The local USDA entomologist identified the moth and weevil on June 25 as first in port pests and the beetle on July 14 also as a first in port pest. The USDA national entomologist confirmed the identifications Monday. Following local entomologist identification, each shipment of produce was fumigated, determined to be free of additional pests, and released.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
For more information, visit the USDA's APHIS-PPQ program webpage.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. 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 plant materials or animal products, including 425 agriculture pests and diseases.
Visit CBP's agriculture protection webpage to learn more about this vital mission.
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.