PROGRESO, Texas – Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Progreso International Bridge import cargo lot intercepted a rare “First in Nation” pest in a shipment of cut flowers.
“The interception of this unique, first in nation pest is an outstanding example of the diligence and dedication of our CBP agriculture specialists in safeguarding the agriculture of the United States,” said Port Director Nestor Garza III, Progreso Port of Entry.
The interception occurred on Feb. 17, at the Progreso International Bridge import lot when a shipment of cut flowers was referred to agriculture for inspection. Upon inspection of the cut flowers, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted the pest on Dracaena sp. leaves. The pest was submitted for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist. The initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist as Charidotis vitreata (Perty), a pest not known to occur in the United States and intercepted for the first time at a port of entry. This insect belongs to the Chrysomelidae family, commonly known as leaf beetles. Many leaf beetles are serious pests of cultivated plants, and a few act as vectors of plant diseases.
Given the quarantine status of Charidotis vitreata (Perty), the cut flowers were destroyed as a precautionary measure.
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.