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November 2, 09

NEWS / CBP Agriculture Specialists in Florida Halt Dangerous Pests


Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - During October, agriculture specialists at Port Everglades have made numerous interceptions of pests within shipments at the port. Day in and day out, this elite group of specialists have had their hands full inspecting the numerous shipments of fruits and vegetables reaching our ports and making sure that they are free of any invasive pests that can wreak havoc to our agriculture industry.


On Oct. 5, during a routine cargo container inspection agriculture specialists at Port Everglades intercepted a weevil within a shipment of fresh green bananas form Honduras. The interception was sent to the United States Department of Agriculture, where it was identified as Limnobaris calandriformis Champion. The shipment was safeguarded and referred to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection, Plant Protection and Quarantine for treatment.


On Oct. 9, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted a weevil within a shipment of fresh bell peppers from Honduras. The interception was sent to the United States Department of Agriculture, where it was identified as Pheloconus rubicundulus Boheman. The shipment was safeguarded and referred to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection, Plant Protection and Quarantine for treatment.


Weevils belong to a very successful family of beetles (Curculionidae) with more than 50,000 species worldwide. They vary in size from small seed weevils, less than 2mm long, to the large pine weevils, 20-25 mm long. Adult weevils are fairly easy to recognize since nearly all have a characteristic rostrum or snout projecting forward from the head, with mandibles or jaws at the tip.


Weevils are almost entirely plant feeders, and most species are associated with a narrow range of hosts, in many cases only living on a single species. Many weevils are damaging to crops. The grain or wheat weevil (Sitophilus granarius) damages stored grain. The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) attacks cotton crops. It lays its eggs inside cotton bolls, and the young weevils eat their way out.


Weevils are often found in dry foods, including nuts and seeds, cereal and grain products, such as pancake mix and flour. In the domestic setting, they are most likely to be observed when a bag of flour is opened. Their presence is often indicated by the granules of the infested item sticking together in strings, as if caught in a cobweb. If ingested, E. coli infection and other various diseases can be contracted from weevils, depending on their diet.


On Oct. 20, during an intensive cargo inspection, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted a Pentatomidae adult within a shipment of ceramic tiles from Italy. The interception was sent to the United States Department of Agriculture, where it was forwarded to the Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and identified as Carpocoris pudicus (Poda) (Pentatomidae). Their beak-like mouthparts are used to remove plant sap. A salivary secretion is injected as the insect feeds, which produces a rapid wilting of the leaf or stem of the affected plant. The shipment was safeguarded and referred to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection, Plant Protection and Quarantine for treatment.


ďU.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations in Miami is actively engaged in all aspects of our mission to protect the homeland. Our Specialists and Officers take great pride in, and produce significant results in the performance of their duties,Ē stated Harold Woodward, Director of Field Operations for Customs and Border Protection in Miami.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/10302009_2a.xml

 




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