A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist working at the Houston Seaport intercepted a “First in the Nation” pest, preventing its introduction into the United States.
The adult leafhopper pest was found in a tile and wine shipment imported from Italy; the pest has never before been reported in American agriculture.
A CBP agriculture specialist was inspecting the shipment when she intercepted a leafhopper inside the container. She obtained the specimen and forwarded it to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal (USDA) and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) entomologist for identification.
The Smithsonian Systematic Entomology Laboratory identified the pest as Euscelis incisusKirschbaum (Cicadellidae), a “First in Nation” pest for the United States.
USDA determined the shipment could not be treated because the wine corks would absorb the Methyl Bromide fumigant and deemed the shipment would not be safe for human consumption if treated.
“CBP agriculture specialists pay such microscopic attention to detail when inspecting agriculture products that they are able to find the tiniest of pests or plant disease,” said Acting Area Port Director Erik Shoberg. “This interception is an example of how our agriculture specialists work to prevent the introduction of harmful pests that could negatively affect U.S. agriculture.”
The shipment of tile and wine is schedule to be exported back to Italy.