PHARR, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge recently intercepted a rare pest, a first in the nation discovery along with another quarantine significant pest in a shipment of celery.
“Our CBP agriculture specialists are to be commended for their tenacity and attention to detail which resulted in the discovery of a first in the nation pest,” said Efrain Solis, port director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. “By intercepting these exotic pests, our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and contribute to the nation’s economic security by denying entry to invasive species not known to exist in the U.S.”
The interception occurred on March 8 at the import lot at Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge. CBP agriculture specialists conducted an examination of a commercial shipment of celery. During an examination of the commodity and the trailer floor, a CBP agriculture specialist discovered live insects on the celery. The pests were submitted for identification by a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist. The initial identification was later confirmed by a national specialist that one insect was Amnestus brunneus (Signoret), a first in the nation pest not known to exist in the U.S. and the other was Diabrotica undecimpunctata, also a quarantine significant pest. Amnestus brunneus (Signoret) belongs to the Cydnidae family, commonly known as burrowing bugs. Burrowing bugs spend some of the time underground feeding on roots of plants and some are considered crop pests.
Given the findings, CBP refused entry for the shipment and it was returned to Mexico.