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Various Pests Found Inside Imported Flowers and Pineapples Intercepted at the San Juan Airport

Release Date: 
May 4, 2011

San Juan, P.R. - Although they elude the naked eye, small insects can hide within fruits, vegetables or flowers that could hurt the local farmed crops.

Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP Agriculture Specialists, while inspecting various shipments of produce and flowers arriving at the San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, intercepted various insects.

The Plant Protection and Quarantine PPQ unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service USDA-APHIS receives the insects for proper identification and treatment determination.

Inside a shipment of pineapples arriving from Panama, a caterpillar was identified by the SEL (Systematic Entomology Lab) in Washington as an actionable pest scientifically named Genopascia protomis Dyar (Pyralidae).

Pyraloid caterpillars, found originally in 1914, are pests that cause damage and economically affect crops such as rice, sugarcane, corn, tomatoes, and many more; some are worldwide pests of stored products such as grains and fruits.

Furthermore, two shipments of cut flowers from Colombia revealed the presence of two types of insects.

On one shipment CBP Agriculture Specialists found thrips (Aphididae sp. / Thrips palmi) an actionable pest found in Japan in 1978, which became the most serious pest of eggplant, cucumber and sweet pepper both in greenhouses and in open fields in the western part of Japan.

The other shipment revealed Moths (Noctuidae sp.).

All the shipments were safeguarded and transferred to USDA-APHIS-PPQ for further treatment.

Exporters and producers should be cognizant of the U.S. phytosanitary measures before shipping their products.

Invasive species include nonnative, alien, or exotic plant pests (such as insects, mollusks, weeds, or pathogens); animal and zoonotic disease pathogens, which can transmit diseases between animals and humans; or other organisms that can cause economic or environmental harm to U.S. agriculture, range, and forest systems if they enter the United States.

CBP agriculture specialists safeguard American agriculture by detecting and preventing entry into the country of plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases that could harm agricultural resources. They do this with inspection and prevention efforts designed to keep prohibited agricultural items from entering the United States. These items, whether in commercial cargo or as 'hitchhikers' with an international airline passenger or a pedestrian crossing the border, could cause serious damage to America's crops, livestock, and the environment.

For more detailed information on these and other pests, the public can consult the following website. (USDA/APHIS)

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.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017