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A Successful Summer for CBP Agriculture Specialists in International Falls, MN

Release Date: 
October 13, 2015

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations agriculture specialists had a very busy summer working at the International Falls, MN Port of Entry (POE). The POE is one of the busiest rail ports in the United States. Cargo from all over South Asia enters the port at International Falls with final destinations all over the country. The mission of CBP’s agriculture specialists is to target, detect, intercept, and thereby prevent the entry of potential threats to the agricultural community and nation.

Siricdae (Sirex) wood wasp

Siricdae (Sirex) wood wasp

During the months of August and September, the agriculture specialists saw a significant increase of pest interceptions that could cause serious damage to agricultural crops, trees and landscape. Some of the interceptions were insects that affect our grains and cereal crops, while others were wood boring pests that can produce devastation to our forestry and landscaping industries.

Over the course of the two-month period, the specialists performed inspections on many rail container shipments from various countries destined to multiple states in the United States. Several were found to be infested with invasive insects or federal noxious weed seeds. In some cases the containers were infested with both.

Some of the intercepts discovered during the last two months:

  1. In six shipments of insulated glass from China, agriculture specialists intercepted several Siricidae (Sirex) and Scolytidae. These horntail wasps and wood boring beetles feed on many of our hardwood and softwood trees. The Sirex wood wasp is unusual to the family of wood wasps in that it is a highly mobile pest and will generally attack healthy pine trees. Its larvae will feed on the tree for two years prior to it emerging as an adult.
  2. Within a shipment of steering wheels from China, agriculture specialists intercepted more Sirex wood wasps as well as planthoppers (Delphacidae sp) and Federal Noxious Weed seeds (Imperata Cylindrica). The planthoppers feed on various crops and vegetables, passing along viruses that can kill the plants. Imperata cylindrical, also known as cogon grass, is a highly invasive plant that spreads rapidly.
  3. A shipment of granite from Asia produced a highly mobile and potentially destructive moth (Alucitidae). This “many-plumed moth” has wings comprised of several rigid spines with bristles which resemble more of a bird feather than a typical moth wing. The larvae of this moth feed on various shrubs and fruit trees.
Photo of a federal noxious weed, Imperata Cylindrica

A federal noxious weed, Imperata Cylindrica

“The CBP agriculture specialists at the Port of International Falls work hard to balance the dual missions of protecting American agriculture while facilitating legitimate trade and these interceptions are a significant accomplishment,” said Area Port Director Mary Delaquis.

Each year, CBP agriculture specialists intercept tens of thousands of “actionable pests” – those identified through a scientific risk assessment and study as being dangerous to the health and safety of the U.S. agriculture resources. The potential economic loss from the establishment of these destructive pests in the U.S. heartland is estimated to be in the trillions of dollars due to crop yield and quality loss. CBP continues its work in enabling legitimate trade, contributing to the American economic prosperity, and protecting against risks to public health and safety. Learn more about Protecting Agriculture.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017