Criminal Justice News

Friday, July 06, 2012

Philly CBP Records First Local Red Palm Mite Interception

Philadelphia, PA – Local Philadelphia Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted two insect pests recently that U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist confirmed today as a First in Port red palm mite and a long-horned beetle rarely seen in the U.S.

Philadelphia CBP agriculture specialists discovered a Raoiella indica Hirst (Tenuipalpidae), commonly known as a red palm mite, on hats and a bowl made of palm fronds that a traveler brought with him from Jamaica on June 25. The red palm mite is known to feed on 42 palm species in the Caribbean Region and Florida and is a serious pest risk for the subtropical areas of the United States.

Wilmington, Del., CBP agriculture specialists discovered an Estola species (Cerambycidae), from the long-horned beetle family, in a shipment of pineapples that arrived by ship from Guatemala on June 27. Species of Cerambycidae are serious pests. They can pose a significant agriculture threat to orchard trees, but they are also known to attack a wide range of forest and landscaping trees, boring holes into their trunks and eventually killing them.

This is only the second documented interception of this species of long-horned beetle. Wilmington CBP also claimed the nation’s first documented interception of Estola species (Cerambycidae) in 2009.

CBP submitted both insect specimens to the local USDA entomologist for identification. A national USDA pest identifier today confirmed the status of each interception.

CBP issued an Emergency Action Notification to the importer requiring the pineapple shipment to be re-exported, fumigated or destroyed. The importer chose the fumigation option.

“The importance of protecting America’s agriculture industry cannot be overstated,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP agriculture specialists are ever vigilant at detecting dangerous and invasive insect pests. This First in Port discovery is both a significant accomplishment and a warning of a new potential agriculture threat.”

CBP agriculture specialists work closely with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine to protect our nation’s agriculture industries against the introduction of invasive and destructive insect pests.

CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in the biological sciences and agricultural inspection. On a typical day, they inspect tens of thousands of international air passengers, and air and sea cargoes nationally being imported to the United States and seize 4,291 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 454 insect pests.

To learn more about CBP agriculture specialists, please visit the CBP Careers web site.

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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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