Customs and Border Protection intercept unwelcome pests - Brownsville Herald: News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Customs and Border Protection intercept unwelcome pests

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 9:49 pm

Insects make up 80 percent of the world’s organisms.

And specialists with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are on the front line in the fight to intercept harmful pests that could decimate the U.S.’s resources and economy before the critters can be brought across the border.

In fiscal year 2012 — from Oct. 1, 2011 until Sept. 20, 2012 — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists in South Texas intercepted 13,553 pests. They also intercepted 22,518 quarantined animal materials and 100,338 quarantined plant materials, according to the agency.

“Our CBP agriculture specialists safeguard American agriculture by detecting and preventing the entry of foreign plant pests and animal diseases that could harm U.S. agricultural resources,” said Eugenio Garza Jr., director, Field Operations, Laredo Field Office.

Last week at the Gateway International Bridge, agricultural specialists found a harmful exotic insect, Monochamus galloprovincialis (Olivier), which is a bark and wood-boring beetle that is part of a large group of species that colonize severely stressed woody plants.

Its detection at a U.S. port of entry was the seventh time on record, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The interception of that pest was a first for a Brownsville port of entry.

A small worm called a nematode that lives inside the Olivier devastates trees via pine wilt disease, which can kill trees within a few weeks.

“The thing with these guys is they transmit a nematode, a worm, that actually gets in there and reproduces and fills up the little tubes that carry water from roots to leaves,” said Genaro López, a retired biology professor from the University of Texas at Brownsville. “The tree ends up suffocating and dying.”

The pest was found in a shipment of solid wood packaging materials from Russia, according to a CBP press release.

“It’s not surprising (to find them in wood packaging) in the sense that it’s the use of cheap wood,” López said. “See these beetles don’t get healthy trees — only dead and dying. So what is happening in Russia is they are using wood they can’t use for house framing so they make these cheap pallets so the beetle is in those pallets, and it’s not cost effective to treat all the pallets.”

That’s where CBP officers and agricultural specialists come into play.

In the Rio Grande Valley, after tell-tale signs of an intrusive pest are found, any collected specimens are sent to specialists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Inspection Station in Los Indios.

López stressed the importance of keeping non-native wood-boring pests out of the country.

“They need to inspect the lumber before it gets into the U.S.,” López said. “That’s one of the reasons why our government has to fund Customs.”

 

Follow us on Facebook

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>