U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Pharr International Bridge in Texas say they discovered a rare pest in a shipment of fresh vegetables. The agents say it is the first time for the pest to be discovered in the United States.
“Our agriculture specialists help protect American agriculture and contribute to the nation’s economic security by denying entry to invasive species not known to exist in the U.S.” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry.
Agriculture specialists at the Pharr cargo facility conducted an inspection on a commercial shipment of fresh vegetables arriving from Mexico, which resulted in the discovery of a live pest within boxes of jackfruit. The insect was submitted for identification to a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomology laboratory and the initial identification was later confirmed as Cyclocephala forcipulata. The Cyclocephala forcipulata (Scarabaeidae) is a species that belongs to the scarab beetle family that is found in Mexico. Scarab pests can cause agricultural and economic damage as their larvae eat plant roots and adults feed on their aerial parts of plants. The shipment was refused entry and returned to Mexico.
According to USDA entomologists, this pest has never been found at any of the nation’s ports of entry. CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it back to Mexico.