Agricultural specialists with the Customs and Border Protection recently intercepted several “highly unusual” pests at Port Manatee, Fla.
A scarab beetle, Cyclocephala lurida coahuilae, was found in a shipment of malanga from Mexico — the first time the pest has been intercepted in Florida, according to a news release. Scarab beetles can pose a significant threat to a wide variety of crops.
Another pest, an adult Heteroptera was detected in a shipment of dasheen — taro root — also from Mexico. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed it is the second time the pest, Tominotus inconspicuus Froeschner, has been detected in the state, according to the release, and the first at Port Manatee. Tominotus are commonly known as burrowing bugs and feed on plant roots.
CBP agriculture specialists find tens of thousands of “actionable pests” in shipments of goods coming into the U.S. each year.
“CBP agriculture specialists are ever-vigilant and work diligently every day to detect pests that could cause harm to America’s agriculture resources,” Radames Torres, area port director, said in the release. “CBP agriculture specialists prevent the entry of potential pests before they have a chance to do us harm.”
On a typical day in fiscal year 2018, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 319 pests at ports of entry and 4,552 materials for quarantine, including plants, meat, animal byproducts and soil, according to the release.