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New pest found by Puerto Rico authorities in suspected archeological artifacts
Published on October 5, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists this week made two interceptions of an actionable pest within commercial shipments arriving at the two principal airports in the island.

Insects are determined to be actionable pests because they are not widespread (and/or established) in the United States or its territories, making them potentially damaging to a wide variety of crops and natural resources.

During the inspection of a shipment that was declared as art/hand-crafts, reportedly made of natural materials from the Ivory Coast, CBP Agriculture Specialists at the San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport intercepted a pest that was identified as a “first in the nation” interception by USDA. It was considered a “first in the nation” because it had not been identified before.

This new pest was classified as Himatium sp. (Curculionidae sp.), thought to be similar to snout beetles or weevils. This insect was found during inspection of possible archaeological artifacts. The shipment was safeguarded pending determination/confirmation of the possible archaeological artifacts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and treatment by US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In a shipment of imported fresh flowers from Colombia, arriving at the Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, CBP Agriculture Specialists intercepted an insect identified as Mythimna sequax Franclemont (A/R), commonly known as Wheat Armyworm Moth.

This is the first time this particular moth has been identified at the Aguadilla Port. An Emergency Action Notification (EAN) was issued and the shipment was safeguarded and transferred to USDA for treatment.

“These two interceptions are an example of the careful diligence our agriculture specialists exhibit as they examine imported shipments for harmful pests and diseases,” said Mirella Couto, San Juan Assistant Director Field Operations for Trade.
 
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