Philadelphia - A national U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist confirmed Friday that a longhorn beetle that Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists discovered Tuesday is a Xylotrechus chinensis, also known as the Mulberry Borer and the first time such an insect species has been intercepted in the United States.
CBP agriculture specialists discovered the Xylotrechus chinensis wood borer in non-compliant wood spools that held steel wire rope shipped from China.
Members of the family Cerambycidae, also know as longhorn beetles, are known to be destructive wood boring insect pests that impact a wide range of tree species, and pose a serious threat to national forests, the timber industry and to the U.S. economy.
"Protecting America's agriculture industry is an enormous responsibility, and Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists take their job very serious," said Allan Martocci, CBP port director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. "Each CBP insect pest interception emphasizes the importance of their efforts and a First in Nation discovery is worth noting -- as both a significant milestone and as a warning to a new potential agriculture threat."
CBP discovered the longhorn beetle during Operation China Wood, an operation focused on ensuring compliance with international wood packing material regulations. Agriculture specialists discovered that some of the 25 wood spools consisted of solid wood that complied with International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) treatment standards, and some consisted of non-compliant manufactured wood material.
CBP secured the container and issued an Emergency Action Notification for the container and its entire contents be re-exported.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 454 insect pests.
To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit CBP.gov.