Customs Intercepts Invasive Insects in Philadelphia

Two invasive insect species never before seen in the United States were intercepted in maritime shipments in Philadelphia last month.

Stenygra setigera

Stenygra setigera

Maritime shipments containing two invasive insect species were intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. The two species never before intercepted in the U.S. were Dalmochrimnus guatemalanus (a type of seed bug) and Stenygra setigera (a species of Longhorn beetle). Both species were caught last month in shipments from Costa Rica and Brazil.

The Department of Agriculture released the following descriptions of the two insects, as well as a third, Ceroplastes sinensis or Chinese wax scale, intercepted for the first time in Philadelphia last month.

Dalmochrimnus guatemalanus are members of the Lygaeidae family or seed bugs, and are significant pests of crops, grains, shrubs and trees. They are not known to occur in the United States. The USDA prescribed that the shipment of Costa Rica cassava and chayotes be fumigated. They were destined to a Maryland importer.

Stenygra setigera are members of the Cerambycidae family of longhorned beetles native to Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia. They are serious wood-boring pests of forests. The importer is deciding between fumigating, re-exporting or destroying the shipment of Brazilian granite, which was destined to Delaware.

Ceroplastes sinensis are a pest of commercial citrus crops in Spain including oranges, lemons and tangerines. The insect has a waxy external layer that acts as a protective barrier against pesticide treatments, making pest control a difficult task. The importer fumigated the shipment of persimmons.

“Keeping these insect pests out of the United States is of grave concern for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and our agriculture specialists take their job very seriously,” Susan Stranieri, Customs Port Director for Philadelphia, said in a release. “Holding the line against destructive insects at our nation’s borders protects America’s varied agricultural industries, and saves our nation’s economy the expense associated with eradicating and recovering from new invasive species.”