WILMINGTON, Del. – A U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed Tuesday that U. S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Wilmington Marine Terminal discovered a new pest in the Wilmington area when they intercepted, Gymnetini (Scarabaeidae), a type of Scarab beetle, while inspecting a shipment of bananas on July 16.
Scarab beetles can pose a significant agriculture threat because they feed on a wide variety of important agriculture crops. Infestation can lead to a decrease in productivity and quality of crops, which can result in significant economic loss.
“CBP agriculture specialists take their job of detecting foreign invasive plants and plant pests very seriously,” said Richard Sheckells port director for the Port of Wilmington. “This is another example of our agriculture specialist performing a thorough inspection and finding a new potential threat to the U.S. agriculture industry.”
The beetle was discovered in a 1,920 case shipment of bananas from Colombia. CBP forwarded the specimen to a USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection and Quarantine entomologist for identification.
CBP quarantined the shipment of bananas and issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring fumigation, re-exportation, or destruction. The importer chose the fumigation option which was completed on July 21 and the shipment was released.
CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s, APHIS, PPQ to protect our nation’s agriculture resources against the introduction of foreign plant pests and animal diseases.
For more on the USDA, APHIS, PPQ program, please visit the Plant Health section of the USDA website.
CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day nationally, they inspect almost 1 million people as well as air and sea cargo imported to the United States and intercept 4,379 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 440 insect pests.
To learn more about CBP agriculture protection mission, please visit Protecting Agriculture on the CBP website.
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.