Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted an insect which is usually not found in the United States and could pose a risk to the U.S. agriculture industry.
This is the first time this particular insect has been intercepted at Los Angeles International Airport by CBP agriculture specialists. The Pseudapion seminudum Wagner (Apionidae) is the scientific name of the pest and it belongs to the weevil family.
On Jan. 28, CBP agriculture specialists were inspecting a shipment of more than 1410 kilograms of fresh organic basil from Mexico when they encountered the insect. The insect was collected and sent to the USDA entomologist for identification. The USDA entomologist informed CBP the insect was actionable, meaning it poses a risk to the U.S. agriculture industry.
This particular family of insects is known as pear-shaped weevils. The larvae of this particular insect feed on the leaves and stems causing galls. Galls are abnormal plant growths causing the reduction of growth of the plant. These pests have the potential to create economic and environmental damage to crops.
CBP agriculture specialists immediately notified the importer of the findings and the importer was given the option of treatment, destruction or re-exporting. The importer opted for treatment and the basil was treated under USDA supervision.
On a typical day in 2009, CBP agriculture specialists seized more than 4,291 prohibited plants, meat and animal byproducts and intercepted 454 agricultural pests that could potentially harm America's agricultural resources.
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.