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Philadelphia CBP Intercepts Two Destructive Insect Species New to the United States

Release Date: 
June 10, 2015

Agriculture Specialists Also Intercept Two Local First Finds

PHILADELPHIA – Two recent insect pest interceptions on imported produce earned U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists in Philadelphia the distinction of being the first in the United States to discover these species of weevil and grasshopper.

That distinction was confirmed Monday by a national U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist. The entomologist also confirmed Monday that two additional insect pest interceptions – a leaf beetle and a seed beetle – are the first documented discoveries of their kind in the Delaware Valley.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted the nation's first document Metaleptea adspersa in a shipment of Colombian plantains in the Port of Philadelphia May 15.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted the nation's first document Metaleptea adspersa in a shipment of Colombian plantains in the Port of Philadelphia May 15.

The two first-in-nation interceptions include:

  • Ampeloglypter sp. (Curculionidae), a species of weevil, intercepted in a shipment of Costa Rica pineapples that arrived in Gloucester City, N.J., May 12. Weevils belonging to the genus Ampeloglypter are known as agricultural pests of grape vines and other plants.
  • Metaleptea adspersa (Acrididae), a species of grasshopper, intercepted in a shipment of Colombia plantains May 15 and again May 22. Grasshoppers are major pests in arid lands and prairies and primarily feed on grains, pasture, and vegetable crops.

The two first-in-port interceptions include:

  • Pyrrhalta sp. (Chrysomelidae), a leaf beetle, on a shipment of Costa Rica pineapples in Eddystone, Pa., May 6. A number of Pyrrhalta leaf beetle species are considered agricultural pests with the potential to cause significant damage to native and cultivated plants.
  • Amblycerus sp. (Chrysomelidae), a seed beetle, on a shipment of Costa Rico pineapples in Philadelphia May 15. Amblycerus sp. (Chrysomelidae) seed beetles are known as agricultural pests of plant seeds.

CBP issued Emergency Action Notifications to require all of the shipments except the plantains to be fumigated. The plantains were released.

The produce was destined to distributors in Florida and Oregon.

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.

“Protecting America’s agriculture against destructive insect pests is of paramount concern to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and being recognized for two first-in-nation pest interceptions is rewarding,” 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.”

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